Experience Life Along the Canal: The Art of John M. Lamb Exhibit

John Lamb’s Wood Carving Tools

The John Lamb Exhibit has been open for almost two months now, and we thrilled to have had visitors come in to enjoy it!  We understand that it may still be difficult for many to join us in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, so we will be sharing virtual highlights with you in case you can’t make it in just yet.

John Lamb’s work and dedication were crucial in the historic preservation of not only Lockport but many canal towns along the Ilinois & Michigan.  John saw the importance of the history in this area in an age when many historic districts around the country were experiencing a decline.  Through his efforts in research, publications, education, and the creation of the Old Canal Days Celebration, the I&M became the nation’s first-ever National Heritage Corridor, and Lockport experienced some much-needed economic growth.  It is easy to admire the amount of time and effort John gave to this community, but it is even more special to display work that was so close to his heart.

John is an incredibly skilled carver and painter, and we are fortunate enough to display many of the works he crafted throughout his life.  He was not only deeply passionate about history but also in his faith and in nature.  A walk through the exhibit will be a walk through the life story of one of Lockport’s most treasured citizens.

St. George – John M. Lamb

There is little information on the life of St. George, as most of the information known comes from tales. Furthermore, historians are unsure of St. George’s birth but approximate that he was born between 228 and 275.

According to religious works, George was a Roman officer who served under Emperor Diocletian. Towards the end of Diocletian’s reign, he announced that all Christians were to be arrested. George refused to arrest Christians and, Emperor Diocletian had George arrested, tortured, and decapitated on April 23, 303.

This sculpture represents St. George slaying a dragon. According to the legend, in the city of Cyrene, a dragon moved near the town’s water supply. The dragon controlled the water and demanded that the village give the dragon a young female in exchange for water. When it was the princess’s turn to be sacrificed, George arrived in the town. He decided to face the dragon to save the princess. Triumphant, George slayed the dragon. Legend claims that grass still doesn’t grow on the spot where the dragon’s blood was spilled.

In paintings and sculptures, St. George is displayed on a white horse. Theologians believe that the white horse represents that St. George was part of a righteous war or that his war took place on righteous grounds.