We arrived with no problems, were assigned to a volunteer and began our tour. The kids were given a numbered site and needed to find each site read the information and go on to yet another site. We were quizzed upon completion.
My son and his friend Ryan took to their assignments and addressed each site. Some of the sites were things like the warehouse. (where we are sitting in the above picture). A sunken canal boat, that was actually as we were informed, simply left by the captain once the canal was no longer in use.
Here is the dry docks from the canal side. They looked much different when they were functioning and the point at which this picture was taken would not have existed. I would have actually been standing in the canal. They have since built a bridge across it.
Pictured above the bridge and an up close view of the canal. The canal would actually not flow into this bay and I am sure there was a name for areas that jetted off the canal way.
Upon completion of our site search, we were given a tour of each sight with a more in depth narrative. Below is the blacksmith shop where we learned that the model canal boat was made much like the original boats of the time by volunteers. The blacksmith noted that he hand made several (although they ended up using modern nails as the process took much to long) of the nails used to built the boat. The importance of a blacksmith was for all metal items on the Landing. Nails, horseshoes (or mule shoes in this case), and any other metal pieces on the land.
Some of the children in the mule barn. Next we all went on an archeological dig. In groups of 5 we were assigned a section on the grid to dig and excavate. The kids had fun shifting through the dirt, and finding a host of objects. One group actually found a candle holder.
Here is our groups finds. Several pieces of glass, a metal latch, coal and ceramics. It was cool to actually dig and find things. I think the kids enjoyed this part the most. I observed mostly as I really did not want to get down in the dirt. Our findings were discussed and exploration about why these things might have been here and it was time for lunch. Lunch was held in the visitor center and this was a National historical area identified with the National Passport, so I tried to get a stamp, but they couldn't find it. Opps! One stamp we cannot put in our Passport book. Lunch was fun, I enjoyed eating my P.B and J with my son and his friends, before we were back on our Canal lesson and learning some new things. This time we explored the Museum. There were several hands on exhibits, as well as DON NOT TOUCH areas. The kids got to dress dolls in period clothing and identified what objects were used for. Really cool were the canal village replica donated to the park. Riddle or should I say question....HOW would the canal boats pass each other on the canal? This was the question posed to the group. Some thought they would lift the thick rope over the mule and its guide. For sake of those who might not know..the canal boats were pulled with a rope and a mule/team of mules on the tow path lead by a hoggie. The hoggie would take the mules off the boat, walk the tow path in whatever weather for six hours a day, return the team of mules, feed water etc the team. Sleep eat and do it all over again six hours later, to switch with the second hoggie shift. All life on the canal boats was a big job, and all members were expected to do their share of the work. It was a life I personally would have no desire to live. The answer is the boat traveling towards Albany had the right of way. The Buffalo bound boat would then stop their boat allow the pull of the rope to submerge into the canal, the Albany bound boat would then pass allowing the mule team to walk over the rope and pass. It seemed that the whole process was well thought out and apparently worked well.
I wish I took more pictures of the replicas they were really cool and intercut.
After we "played" in the museum, we headed to the replica canal boat. This boat was actually hand built just as they would have been made in the period, by volunteers. It was purposely cut and not finished to show the detail of the boats.
Here is the backside of the boat with the rudder to help steer. I never got a picture of the whole boat, but it was here that we met "Granny" who with her family was waiting at Chittenango Landing as her family boat was being built. She informed the group that as the boat was being assembled the family resided in the area that was completed. We were told about the boats construction and shown just how many boards were used and how they insulted in between the slats. The kids each got a turn insulating. Here is Gavin putting this into the walls. It took 50 workers to complete a boat.
We ended the day with a class photo and an hour drive back to Liverpool. The bus ride home was somehow much louder and I was pretty pooped. We all enjoyed the trip. Gavin claimed he liked the digging and the blacksmith shop the best, and they all became much more knowledgeable. I was glad to be a part of my son's field trip, I learned some things, and got a new perspective on life in the day as well as my son's teacher who plans to retire this year. It was great fun and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to join in on this field trip. Now its on to another busy day. I am attending the Vera House recognition luncheon at noon, then tonight I will be having my very first Pure Romance party at Cathy's house. The weekend is full to the rim with stuff too, so I better prepare.
Class picture! What a great trip and good group!