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Crossing Chautauqua Lake

Bemus Point-Stow Ferry Returns For Summer Operation May 23

May 8, 2014

The Bemus Point-Stow Ferry will begin its annual summer operation May 23. The ferry has been providing historic crossings in the narrows of Chautauqua Lake between Bemus Point and Stow. It operates on steel cables powered by a diesel engine. In 1811, Thomas Bemus operated a raft rowed across the narrows, which was replaced in 1815 by a rope and pulley system. In 1887, steel cables were installed and in 1902 a naphtha fired steam engine was added. In 1928, an 80-foot, 60-ton steel hull was built and is still operating. In 1943, Chautauqua County took possession of her as part of the highway system. In October 1982, the Sea Lion Project took possession and has operated her ever since.



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