Erie’s public dock, an iconic manmade feature of the waterfront for more than 120 years, is named in honor of Captain Daniel Dobbins. After being captured twice by the British and narrowly escaping execution in 1812, Dobbins made the long trek to Washington and reported on the unfavorable conditions in the northwestern frontier. He persuaded the Navy of the need for an American naval force on Lake Erie and of the suitability of Erie as the place to build and base that squadron. The Navy gave Dobbins the rank of sailing master and sent him back to Erie to gather supplies and oversee the task of building the fleet that Oliver Hazard Perry would command and eventually face-off against the British in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. Just a few years after the building of Perry’s naval fleet, the bayfront docks began to change to accommodate a new breed of vessel – the steamship – and the increase in passenger and freight service it generated. In 1833, State Street was extended out into the bay and the two east/west perpendicular arms and basins that you see today were built. A two-story steel pier known as the public steamship landing or public dock was added in 1909. It was renovated to its present appearance in 1995.