Lockport remembers and celebrates those who labored 12 hour days from April through November every year to enable boats to navigate through the Erie Canal Flight of Five Locks and deliver their freight to Buffalo and points west, or east to New York City and subsequent final destinations including other continents. An 1897 photo of 12 Lockport Lock Tenders and a little girl has been hailed as a striking depiction, worthy of memorializing as the Lock Tenders Tribute Monument.
Lewiston artist Susan Geissler has been commissioned to create cast bronze life-sculptures of the 12 Lock Tenders, the little girl (a daughter of one of the Lock Tenders in the photo) and the photographer. The completed sculptures will be installed on the very stairs in the Lockport Locks where the Lock Tenders were photographed over 150 years ago. Phase I of the Lock Tenders Tribute Monument, which will consist of four of the figures, is expected to be completed by the fall of 2019. Fund raising continues.
Appropriate signage near the site of the Lock Tenders Tribute Monument will tell the story of these 12 Lock Tenders and their times. The Lock Tenders Tribute Monument, however, will also memorialize all those who toiled, working on the Erie Canal as well as today’s Erie Barge Canal.