| In 1987, Mike and Sharon
Murphy started Lockport Canal Tours with two pontoon boats and a dream.
Today, the business, now called Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises
Inc, has blossomed into one of Niagara County's most popular tourist
attractions. With the acquisition of their property located at 210 Market
St. in Lockport, the company can also boast having Western New York's
unique banquet and meeting facility.
210 Market Street is a steel
building as an addition to the remains of an 1840s canal stone building.
Among the industries housed in the building were the Boston & Lockport
Block & Tackle Company and the Western Block Company, a business that
manufactured block and tackle for pulleys used on canal boats. The Niagara
Preserving Company was also housed in the facility at one time and was
among the first companies to use metal containers to preserve food.
The building has been
remodeled and a visitor will be taken back in time to the turn of the 20th
century. Visitors will stroll along a brick street, past the "Meeting
Room" with its planked floor, the spacious elegant yet casual Veranda
Dining Room with over 100 windows overlooking the canal, the authentic
mahogany bar in the "Pub", the original 1840s walls, the cafe, and the
Canalside Gift Shop. They will enjoy strolling the 477 feet of private
canal bank where our vessels are docked and relaxing in the private
sheltered picnic area.
228 Market Street, a 4-story
canal stone building built in the 1840s, is the perfect setting for our
Lockport & Erie Canal Heritage Museum. At one time the building was a
flourmill that used the water from the Erie Canal as its main power
source. The water was brought down an open aqueduct (known as a "raceway")
in order to power a waterwheel. The excess water was then discharged into
a spillway, which is adjacent to the building. This spillway also served
as a passage for runaway slaves as a part of the Underground Railroad.
Today, the spillway carries water under the canal, into 18-Mile Creek and
down to Lake Ontario.
The Erie Canal Heritage
Museum explains the development, growth, and significance of the Erie
Canal and is complete with interactive exhibits including an actual