Burlington welcomes home schooner Lois McClure

The schooner Lois McClure at her home port at Perkins Pier, Burlington, Vt.
The schooner Lois McClure at her home port at Perkins Pier, Burlington, Vt.

Have you met Lois McClure? If so, you’d probably remember her, and if not, you’ll have the opportunity to do so soon.  The 88 foot schooner belonging to the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum will return to her home on the Burlington waterfront at Perkins Pier on Friday, Oct. 4. People can board the schooner on Friday from 11am-6pm, and there will be a special celebration with refreshments from 4:30-6pm that night. If you can’t make it then, the boat will be open to visitors on Saturday, Oct. 5 and Sunday, Oct. 6 from 10am-5pm. There’s no need to break out your wallet for this incredible maritime exploration, as all visits are free of charge.
The schooner’s 2013 tour, with the theme The Shipwrights’ War and Other Stories, persevered through spring and summer storms to visit more than 30 ports of call in New York, Canada and Vermont following the path of the 1813 campaign. “The shipbuilding races and naval battles of 1813 helped to determine the outcome of the War of 1812, and left a legacy of shipwrecks beneath the waters of the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Lake Champlain,” explains Art Cohn, Special Project Director. “Our dynamic outreach program explored history where it happened, on the anniversary of the cross-border war that ushered in 200 years of peace.”
Many of the historic canals on which the schooner traveled were constructed not long after the War of 1812, and were viewed in part as “homeland security” if it became necessary again to transport troops or military supplies. Happily, however, the canals, and the canal boats on them, have instead served the network of shared trade, commerce, and recreation enjoyed by Canadians and Americans.
Lois McClure was built by LCMM shipwrights and volunteers on the Burlington waterfront, based on two shipwrecks of 1862-class canal schooners discovered in Lake Champlain. Since 2004, Lois McClure has cruised Lake Champlain, the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers, and the Erie Canal System, and has visited over 120 communities and welcomed aboard more than 175,000 visitors.