Hamburg in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Sailing Through Time
—Maritime Heritage —
If you could have stood on this spot for 300 years, you would have seen a parade of vessels carrying Native Americans, explorers, trappers, fishermen, traders, shippers, and sailors traveling and transporting people and goods on the water highway.
Today there is as much traffic as ever, but most of the vessels are pleasure craft, and one of the most popular activities is watching the beautiful sunsets.
For many centuries, Native American dugout canoes were the only watercraft using the lake.
In the late 1600s and early 1700s French voyageurs paddled back and forth on fur-trading trips between Quebec and the interior of the continent.
In 1699, French explorer LaSalle sailed past this spot in his ship the Griffon, the first such ship to sail on Lake Erie.
During the French and Indian War, British and French warships battled for control of the Niagara River and water access to the interior.
Even in winter the lake is a roadway. This etching by Charles Graham, from the February 1886 edition of Harper's magazine, shows goods being transported on the lake ice by dogsled and other means.
As the farming and mining industries in the west grew, cargo ships carried coal and grain to eastern ports.
In the late 1800s, lavish steamers ferried tourists between lakefront cities and resorts.
In the early 1900s, fuel-powered commercial fishing tugs trolled these waters, netting lake fish for market.
Lake freighters grew larger through the 20th century. Today, ocean-going vessels transport products from Great Lakes ports to destinations around the world.
Wind-powered craft, once the only choice, are now used for sport.
Recreational fishing charters and yachts dominate the waterway today.
2004 - Renovation and dedication of Erie Seaway Trail Center.
1996 - Woodlawn Beach State Park opens access to lake for water recreation.
1920 - Hamburg Town Park established.
1910 - Wanakah Water Works Company incorporates. Building construction begins.
Woodlawn Beach & Cottage Co. begins regular boat transportation between Buffalo and their amusement park. The Corona is first boat put into service. 1837 - Group of 30 to 40 would-be heroes departs Hamburg across the ice to invade Canada. Group surrenders in middle of the lake.
1814 - During War of 1812 naval raiding parties and arms smugglers are active offshore.
1812 - Town of Hamburg incorporated.
1805 - The Titus Hotel, later named the Bay View Hotel, and still later named the Dock of the Bay, opened on lake shore roadway.
1800 - Early settlers used the beach as a roadway to the west. Many hotels and taverns were built to serve the travelers.
Seaway Trail, Inc., Corner Ray & West Main St., Sackets Harbor, NY 13685. 1-800-SEAWAY-T. America's Byways. This exhibit made possible by a grant from FHWA to Seaway Trail, Inc.
Erected by Seaway Trail, Inc.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway marker series.
Location. 42° 44.883′ N, 78° 54.043′ W. Marker is in Hamburg, New York, in Erie County. Marker is on Lake Shore Road (New York State Route 5) 0.1 miles west of Lakewood Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at the Lake Erie Seaway Trail Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4968 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg NY 14075, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Stage Coach Stop (approx. 0.2 miles away); In God We Trust (approx. 2½ miles away); First Settler (approx. 2.9 miles away); The Village of Hamburg (approx. 4.1 miles away); Donald "Duke" Spittler Isaac Long Alley (approx. 4.2 miles away); Kronenberg Alley (approx. 4.2 miles away); Smith Alley (approx. 4.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hamburg.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Marker for the Griffon.
Also see . . .
1. Lake Erie Seaway Trail. (Submitted on April 22, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
2. Dock at The Bay - History. As on the marker timeline. (Submitted on April 22, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
3. Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway. (Submitted on April 22, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
4. Woodlawn Beach - New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Beach has been known to periodically close due to high bacteria levels which are frequently tested; inquire before visiting. (Submitted on April 22, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Categories. • Exploration • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 22, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 200 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on April 22, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.