Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Buffalo in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Early Lake Erie Water Craft

The Industrial Heritage Trail

 
 
Early Lake Erie Water Craft Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 3, 2015
1. Early Lake Erie Water Craft Marker
Inscription. The first full-sized sailing ship to sail Lake Erie and the uppper Great Lakes was Le Griffon, built by French Explorer Robert de La Salle in 1679. Previous sailing ships were confined to Lake Ontario due to the natural barrier of Niagara Falls. The 70-foot Le Griffon was built on Cayuga Creek at the Niagara River, above Niagara Falls. La Salle and Father Louis Hennepin set out on Le Griffon's maiden voyage on August 7, 1679 with a crew of 32, sailing across Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan through unchartered waters that only canoes had previously explored.

Le Griffon, the first sailing vessel on Lake Erie.

In September, La Salle landed near Green Bay, Wisconsin, to meet with a group of traders that he had sent ahead the previous year. The traders had collected a large quantity of furs in anticipation of his arrival. La Salle decided to stay behind to further explore Lake Michigan, and sent Le Griffon back to Niagara to deliver the furs. Le Griffon departed on its return trip on September 18, 1679 with a crew of six, but was never heard from again, assumed lost in a violent lake storm.

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Commercial steam boating began in the Hudson River with Robert Fulton's Clermont
Southward image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 3, 2015
2. Southward
Marker is on the second skeletal steel tower, which is farthest to the right. Marker is by the Union Ship Canal which segments Fuhrmann Boulevard.
in 1807, but it would be over ten years before a steam driven ship traveled the upper Great Lakes. The small sailing vessels in use at the time were adequate to serve the small settlements along the lakes, and the early steamboats were limited for use in the relatively calm river waters.

The first steamboat to travel Lake Erie was built in the Village of Black Rock in 1818, at the mouth of Scajaquada Creek. The Walk-in-the-Water offered passenger and freight service from Buffalo to Detroit, with stops in Cleveland and Erie, serving for four years until it ran aground in Buffalo in October 31, 1821, after a violent lake storm. The engine was able to be salvaged and re-used in another ship.

The Great Lakes Steamboat Walk-in-the-Water, 1818. Image Source: Samuel Ward, American Steam Vessels, 1895.
 
Erected by The Industrial Heritage Committee, Inc.
 
Location. 42° 50.046′ N, 78° 51.289′ W. Marker is in Buffalo, New York, in Erie County. Marker is on Fuhrmann Boulevard mile south of Tifft Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Buffalo NY 14203, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Improvements in Ship Design (here, next to this marker); The Great Lakes (here, next to this marker); Lake Erie (here, next to this marker); The Union Ship Canal (here, next to this marker); The Lehigh Portland Cement Company (here, next to this marker); Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna (a few steps from this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Buffalo.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers for Le Griffon, Father Louis Hennepin, Scajaquada Creek at Black Rock, and another marker about Lake Erie vessels.
 
Also see . . .
1. Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle - Wikipedia. (Submitted on July 24, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
2. Louis Hennepin - Wikipedia. (Submitted on July 24, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
 
Categories. ExplorationWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 149 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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