The Flagship Niagara led nine tall ships from around the country and the world into Presque Isle Bay as Erie marks the bicentennial of the battle that was the turning point in the War of 1812.
During the battle, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry of the U.S. Navy and his crew of the Niagara defeated the British fleet near Put-in-Bay, Ohio. This victory gave the United States control of the Great Lakes and secured the young nation’s western frontier.
“As we stand here today with the Flagship behind us, we are reminded of the great sacrifices of Oliver Hazard Perry and his crew,” Corbett said. “If not for their bravery and sacrifice, the war would have turned out much differently. Their victory allows us to stand on the shores of Lake Erie, united as Americans and as proud Pennsylvanians.”
“Remembering our past is very important to understanding our present,” First Lady and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commissioner Susan Corbett said. “The Battle of Lake Erie may have been 200 years ago, but the ideals of freedom and liberty that our sailors fought for still ring true today.”
Tall Ships® Erie is expected to bring more than 60,000 people to the region over the course of four days. A re-enactment of the battle was held on Sept. 2 in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.
Also today, Corbett announced an Economic Growth Initiative grant for Erie’s Bayfront Place Hotel complex. The $5 million project will support the activities of the existing Erie County Convention Center and be used to cover costs related to the construction of the hotel property, pedestrian walkways connecting the hotel, a 450-space parking garage and the Convention Center.
The Convention Center, which opened in August of 2007, has experienced an average annual growth rate of nearly 5 percent annually over the four years following its first full year of operation. This growth, however, has been constrained by a lack of hotel rooms in immediate proximity the Convention Center. This project is expected to create nearly 300 jobs.
Pictured, top, Governor Corbett, speaks during "Tall Ships Erie," marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie; and First Lady Susan Corbett is greeted by Erie Maritime Museum Administrator and Senior Captain Walter Rybka onboard the U.S. Brig Niagara.
Photos and information provided by Commonwealth Media Services