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Lois McClure brings past back to life at Essex Shipyard

Marshall Atkins of Roslindale, Mass., looks at the displays with aunt Rebecca Rook of Berkley, Calif., at the Lois McClure stop in Essex Aug. 24.

Marshall Atkins of Roslindale, Mass., looks at the displays with aunt Rebecca Rook of Berkley, Calif., at the Lois McClure stop in Essex Aug. 24. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— A replica schooner docked in a town where it once was created and sailed.

The Lois McClure, operated by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, docked for two days at the Essex Shipyard, Aug. 24 and Aug. 25.

“It’s great to be in Essex with the history of these boats that is intimately tied with the history of this town,” Art Cohn, executive director of the LCMM, said. “This is a program that is designed to weave together the history of this type of ship and the lake, but also the impact of the human history throughout the region.”

This year’s theme for the McClure tour is focused on farm, forest and fisheries. The tour started in Burlington, the home port of the Lois McClure, and traveled to two other stops before getting to Essex. The tour will continue south through Lake Champlain and the Champlain Canal to Troy and then west through the Erie Canal to Amsterdam.

“We have been pleasantly inundated at all of the stops,” Cohn said. “We had people here is Essex waiting for us to open. For our first four stops, we have had well over 5,000 people so far.”

One of those visitors in Essex, Katie Krier, was able to look back into the history of her family while stepping on board.

“They built these ships here,” said Krier, whose great-great grandfather, Henry Ross, was one of the original founders of Essex. “We are sailors. so we like to come in and look at the boat and look at the history of the region and our family.”

Jean Rook of Burlington said that she was sailing on the Lake as the Lois McClure made its way to Essex.

“We were sailing and we saw it coming down the lake,” Rook said. “We had a good, up-close look at it. Then, I saw a poster in the grocery store that night saying that the boat was going to be in Essex, so I knew that we had to bring the kids to see it.”

For more on the Lois McClure and the Farm, Forest and Fishery Tour, visit the LCMM website at www.lcmm.org.

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