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Maritime Museum Presents ‘Making the Modern Port’ with Dr. Terrence Hammill

OSWEGO – The H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego is pleased to present Dr. Terrence Hammill, former chair of the SUNY Oswego Biology Department, two-term mayor of the city of Oswego and current chairman of the Port of Oswego Authority Board of Directors, as the final installment of this year’s History Lecture Series.

An unknown cargo ship docked at the Port Authority in the 1960s. This black and white photo is part of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego’s permanent collection.
An unknown cargo ship docked at the Port Authority in the 1960s. This black and white photo is part of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego’s permanent collection.

Roughly 150 years after French explorers discovered the mouth of the Oswego River, the young American Congress declared Oswego as the first fresh-water port of entry in the United States (1799).

Through much of the 17th and 18th centuries, Oswego served as a crucial fur trading outpost.

The following centuries witnessed the commodity trading of Syracuse salt, grain, coal, lumber, aluminum and much more.

By the 1870s, Oswego became the largest lumber port in the United States.

In 1828 the Oswego Canal was opened, connecting Oswego to the Erie Canal thereby creating the most direct water-route between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes, which enabled New York State to truly become the “Empire State.”

In 1848, when the village became the city of Oswego, Oswego gained jurisdiction over port facilities.

By 1923, Oswego formed the Harbor and Dock Commission to oversee said facilities prior to being replaced by the Oswego Port Authority in 1955.

It was not until 1960 that the Port of Oswego Authority was born, operating under complete jurisdiction of New York State and, through the years 1960-63, built the modern facilities that now reside on the east side at the mouth of the Oswego River.

The Port of Oswego Authority was instrumental in creating the Maritime Museum and the Oswego Maritime Foundation in the 1980s and continues to support the museum today, educating the public and preserving and protecting Oswego’s rich maritime history.

Join the Maritime Museum on October 29 at 1:30 p.m. in welcoming Dr. Hammill as he takes us on a journey that touches upon the history of that transformation from being a small local port to a larger regional port with even larger international reach.

Today, the Port is part of the $100 billion organized Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System.

This event is free of charge.

For more information on this, or all other upcoming events at the Maritime Museum, visit www.hlwmm.org or call (315) 342-0480.