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Commission bringing the Marguerite back to life PDF Print E-mail
Friday, April 18, 2014 9:06 PM

BY STEPHANIE GROVES

Staff Writer

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DELPHOS — The Delphos Canal Commission members have been busy this past year reorganizing their exhibition space, restoring historical architecture and implementing lighting enhancements within the museum. The biggest project on their agenda this year is bringing the canal boat the Marguerite “to life” through reconstruction of the vessel itself and a visual depiction of what life on a canal boat was really like.

Trustee Linda Baker said the tentative plan is to build a frame of the Marguerite with a cross-section of one end replicating the design and size of the original boat so visitors can understand the concept of how large the boat is. The remaining square footage of the boat — originally 70-80 feet long and close to 14 feet wide — will be an open display of the primitive construction and showcase furniture, equipment and other items that would likely be found on board.

 

Items on display now in the museum include an original tin tub, an oak captain’s table and chairs and a scoop used for the excavation of the canal.

“The oak remnants of the boat — bottom ribs, side rails and keel — were numbered so they could be laid out in the order they were found,” Baker explained. “After being pulled out of the canal, the remnants were treated with a chemical preservative and stored.”

Baker said the Marguerite was unique in the fact that the owners re-configured the cargo boat to also carry “packets” (people).

“It became more of a pleasure boat with families living on them,” Baker said. “The captain’s children served as crew members and helped with maintaining the boat.”

President Lou Hohman said the plan is to render the walls encompassing the length of the boat with a mural portraying the Miami-Erie Canal during that era. He said the idea is to depict scenes a traveler would view from the boat, such as buildings like old mills, farm land and livestock, the locks the boats traveled through and the towpath with mule teams pulling the boat.

Canal boats became a popular mode of transportation in the mid-1800s and replaced the stagecoach. The canal system reached it peak in 1855 when the railroad industry began evolving and became a much less expensive and faster means of transporting people and commodities. The increased use of the rail system and later the highway system — specifically, The National Road — brought a slow death to the canal system. Canal transportation limped along until 1913 when a record winter snowfall and heavy spring rains caused widespread flooding, destroying much of the system’s raised banks and locks.

“The first rails for the T.D. & I. Narrow-Gauge Railroad’s construction here in Delphos, back in 1877, came by way of cargo boats via the Miami-Erie Canal,” Baker said.

Last year, the commission took on revitalizing the interior of the museum, which included replacing some of the damaged tin ceiling tiles, sand blasting the old paint from the tiles and giving them a fresh coat of paint.

“Most of the tin ceilings were fabricated at The New Delphos Manufacturing Company,” Baker detailed. “Odds are the majority of the existing tin ceilings in buildings lining Main Street were also made by them.”

In addition, the old interior fluorescent lighting were removed and replaced by an LED lighting system. The network of lights render the facility much more energy efficient and eliminates the ultraviolet light degradation (decay) of display items including wood and fibrous materials.

“The lighting project was made possible through a generous grant from the Arnold C. Dienstberger Foundation,” Hohman said.

The commission is currently looking for creative individuals or groups to discuss ideas for the mural. In addition, they are looking for funding to aid in the upcoming projects. For more information visit the museum’s website at www.delphoscanalcommission.com or contact the museum at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Friday, April 18, 2014 9:09 PM
 

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