A flat-bottomed, double-ended craft, Durham boats were used throughout the inland waterways of North America to ferry supplies and people. They were famously used to transport George Washington and his troops across the Delaware River during the American Revolution. Durham boats were especially common along the Niagara River where they were used to transport goods such as salt and lumber from Little Niagara (Fort Schlosser) to Black Rock. In one instance, Captain Daniel Dobbins used an old, leaky Durham boat to move two 6300 pound cannons from Black Rock to Presque Isle to help Commodore Perry’s fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie. Durham boats eventually were replaced in the Niagara region by larger, more efficient canal boats after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825.
For more information on Durham boats, please see Wikipedia.
The Erie Traveler is a 42-foot-long, 7 foot-wide Durham boat replica built by staff and volunteers of the Buffalo Maritime Center for the Locks Heritage District Corporation for demonstration purposes along the canal in Lockport.
Designed by Buffalo Maritime Center staff and volunteers according to the best surviving historical descriptions of Durham boats, the Erie Traveler was hand-crafted of pressure treated yellow pine. In all, the project required over 4,000 hours of volunteer labor to complete
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