According to park signage, the recently restored Commercial Slip was originally the western terminus of the Erie Canal that helped to make Buffalo one of the world’s greatest transportation centers in the early 1800s.
Today a boardwalk crosses the small restored section of the canal and leads to a park where many events are held. Our son participated in an art day there earlier this year. He sat at an easel and painted.
Even in the absence of an event, Canalside remains inviting.
We ate lunch on the patio of a restaurant overlooking the water.
A big draw of the area is the Military and Naval Park where three WWII-era ships are on display: the U.S.S. Sullivans, the U.S.S. Little Rock and the U.S.S. Croaker.
The U.S.S. Sullivans is a destroyer named to honor five brothers from Waterloo, Iowa who served together on the USS JUNEAU during World War II. The Sullivan brothers: George, 28; Francis, 27; Joseph, 24; Madison, 23; and Albert, 20; lost their lives during the Battle of Guadalcanal on November 13, 1942. They were adamant about serving together in spite of the Navy wartime policy to separate family members. (From the-sullivans.navy.mil where a photo of the brothers is posted.)
The U.S.S. Little Rock is a light cruiser.
And the U.S.S. Croaker is a Gato submarine. For some reason I find the ships to be a frightening sight. For a fee you can tour them. But as we were short on time, we decided to save that for another visit.
On the military park side of the canal, before you cross over, a curving sidewalk takes you past a series of military monuments.
I noticed the Korean War monument right away because that war was being fought when my father was drafted into the army in 1953. He considered himself fortunate that he was assigned to Germany and not the Far East.
The other monuments commemorate the contributions made by select groups of people during various wars.
All mark the place where the waters met and a city grew up.