Exiting Shaftlock 17 at Little Falls
In October 2005 the New York State Canal Corporation, New York State Museum, and a cadre of volunteers performed a miracle. Largely under her own power, with occasional assistance from Canal Corporation tugboats, the Day Peckinpaugh transited the length of the Erie Canal to Waterford, at the eastern gateway to the canal. The heroic efforts of Chief Engineer Jim Brennan, the engineer on the ship when she was last in commercial service in the early 1990s, made the trip possible. He worked on the engines, pumps, DC electrical systems, and other elements of her machinery while it was tied to the wall in Lockport. Roaring back to life, belching smoke and an occasional flame like some industrial maritime dragon awakened from a long slumber, the Day Peckinpaugh retraced steps on a second maiden voyage that seemed impossible only a couple of months earlier.
The trip across the state was remarkable and awe-inspiring from several perspectives:
It brought back memories of her 1921 inaugural voyage when she traveled in the company of tugs
Canal Corporation Director Carmella Mantello could have said no but didn’t — she enthusiastically supported the venture through her budget, equipment, and employees.
Several lock tenders and other Canal Corporation employees came aboard on their days off to volunteer as deck hands.
The New York State Museum — especially Craig Williams — spent countless hours in doing behind-the-scenes logistical work, aided by a nearly fanatical band of volunteers.
The Day Peckinpaugh arrived in Waterford, New York, on November 4, 2005 to take up her new residence, amid applause from throngs of people and speeches by leaders and dignitaries. We can’t think of a better example of how so many different agencies from all levels of government, working together with the private and volunteer sector, came together to achieve such a magical, majestic and stunning success for the benefit of students and the general public now, and countless generations yet to come.