Lakes exploration to be featured at April 25 dinner

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
An 1882 newspaper advertisement promotes the Onondaga, a 175-foot paddlewheel steamer that plied Seneca Lake. By 1898, the Onondaga had outlived its usefulness, and on Sept. 14, 1898, the owners scuttled the boat in the middle of Seneca Lake, south of Geneva. Divers today can explore what little remains of the majestic steamer.

Stories of the lakes, on and below their waters, will educate and entertain at the annual dinner of the Schuyler County Historical Society Thursday, April 25.

“Shipwrecks – What Lies beneath? Stories from Seneca Lake and Lake Champlain” will be the keynote presentation by Art Cohn, director emeritus of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vt.

Vintage sailors songs, performed by members of Uncle Joe and the Rosebud Ramblers, will entertain before and during dinner.

Cohn last summer led a team to begin the first systematic search for sunken vessels in Seneca Lake. The project was in conjunction with the Romulus Historical Society in Seneca County. With slides, Cohn will discuss the investigation, mapping and future plans involving the wrecks.

Cohn is a professional diver, historian, educator and advocate for the preservation of historical shipwrecks. He is internationally recognized for his research on the maritime history of Lake Champlain. He led the efforts to build a replica of the Lois McClure, an 1860s sailing canal boat. The boat was berthed in Seneca Harbor in Watkins Glen last fall for the Corning Museum of Glass’ GlassBarge celebration.

The dinner serves as the annual meeting of the Historical Society, but it is open to all, both members and non-members. The event will be at the Montour Moose Lodge, Route 14, south of Montour Falls. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with serving starting at 6 p.m. The menu will feature lasagna rollups, traditional and vegetarian, salad and dessert. The cost will be $15 per person, which may be paid at the door.

Reservations, with meal choice, are required to the Historical Society by Tuesday, April 16, by emailing or calling 607-535-9741.