It has been well over 120 years since a Delaware & Hudson (D&H) Canal Company boat was built to serve on the 108-mile canal between Honesdale, Pa., and Rondout, N.Y., on the Hudson River. Their builders, if they could return, might be amazed to see the full-scale boat replica sitting in the canal near Hawley, and the excitement around its dedication ceremony on June 17.
Though not a full replica, the canal boat representation appears so, as seen from Route 6 and the parking area at the Wayne County Historical Society's D&H Canal Park at Lock 31. The 90-foot representation comes complete with a rudder, cabin and holds for its principal cargo, anthracite coal. In keeping with the tradition of many of the D&H boat captains who named their hardy vessels, the ceremony included designating the boat replica as the Clinton Leet.
Applause and cheering went up as the name sign was unveiled. Presiding was Tom Colbert, WCHS trustee and chairperson of the Canal Park Committee, who has given years of his time and skills for this project and the park, accompanied by a team of other dedicated volunteers and WCHS staff. Congressman Matt Cartwright also offered remarks, as well as Rick Leet, nephew of the boat's namesake.
Clinton Leet, long-time WCHS trustee, first proposed to the board in 1995 to acquire the property and create a canal park, the only one celebrating the D&H on the Pennsylvania side of the canal. Leet lived to attend the first annual Canal Festival in August 2013; he died that November at age 91.