The monument celebrates those whose manual labor made the Erie Canal an economic engine for New York State and the nation, notably 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.
The monument includes 14 life-size sculptures, including the 12 tenders in the original photo, a little girl (a daughter of one of the lock tenders in the photo) and the photographer. The completed sculptures are installed on the same stairs at the Lockport locks where the original photograph took place.
Phase I of the Lock Tenders Tribute Monument, consisting of three of the figures, was completed in 2020. Five more figures (Phase II) were installed in 2021, and the final six figures were added in September, 2023.
The public monument can be found at 80 Canal Street in Lockport, in Niagara County, NY.
Photos: The Lock Tenders Tribute Monument; and the originally 1897 F.B. Clench photo. You can see more photos of the completed monument here.