Sunday, February 21, 2010


February 21, 2010

RE: Photo Query in Crooked Lake Review Blog, Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mr. Minor,

The photo of the small steamer you posted looks a lot like one of a number of small steamers that used to ply the waters of Keuka Lake before they ultimately were either shipped off the lake or dismantled.

The site of the photo is possibly the remains of the pier that extended out into Seneca Lake from the first lock of the Crooked Lake Canal at Dresden, which closed around 1875. I believe the canal itself was finally sold to the New York Railroad in 1878.
Just looking at the boat, it probably had a fairly shallow draft and might have been able to pass through the canal before it closed. The Croooked Lake Canal was designed to average four feet in depth between locks. If this is the case, I'd say your photograph would be dated sometimes before the last quarter of the 19th century.

After a more careful look at the photograph, it my impression that the pier next to the little steamer looks a bit unkept. This could mean that the little steamer was tied up on the south side of the old pier that used to extend from the first lock of the Crooked Lake Canal sometime after it closed. The clothing worn by the men is clearly late 19th century, posibly early 20th century, so you might have a photograph of an old private steamer that was puttering around Seneca Lake probably around the turn of the 20th century.

As a word of introduction, I am Len Leffner, a scuba diver from Maryland who has been visiting Keuka Lake since 1984 in search of sunken vessels in that lake.

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