Saturday, October 15, 2016

Eerie Erie

While we were visiting Rochester, NY we drove over the Erie Canal a few times. That brought a flood of memories back. I studied New York history when I was in 4th grade and I distinctly remember my fascination with the canal, and stories about how mules and horses used to pull barges from the Niagara River near Buffalo to the Hudson River near Albany. There was also a system of other canals that also allowed access to Lake Ontario and some of the other larger lakes in New York.

A few interesting facts (from "The Story of the New York State Canals"):
  • The canal was begun in 1817 and completed in 1825
  • Tolls were abolished in 1882, after earning 42 million dollars over its original cost
  • The Erie Canal is 340.7 miles in length
  • At minimum the canal is 75 feet in width
  • Locks are at least 300 feet long and 44 1/2 feet wide
  • Clearance under bridge must be at least 5 1/2 feet
  • 57 locks that lift 6 to 40 1/2 feet are found along the length of the canal system
  • The system of canals, including the Erie Canal and three branches, was called the Barge Canal..
  • The system of canals, while no longer used primarily for transportation of goods, is now called the New York State Canal System
  • Over 220 miles of the original towpaths, along which the mules used to plod as they pulled barges, are now walking and biking trails.
We drove out to one of the locks while we were exploring the area. It was a beautiful day to step back into history. I could almost see back in time. I could imagine the old barges filled with cargo going east or west.

Mr. Dreamy is walking with the lock tender. He (or someone) certainly does a nice job in maintaining the lock. Everything was freshly painted and the grounds were immaculate.

.... singing, "I've got an old mule and her name is Sal....


  1. What a great post! I love having the Erie Canal running through our village. This is the first Sunday Gary has not had duty at the Welcome Center, where boaters from all around the world have docked for years.

    1. I've always enjoyed the pictures you have put on your blog posts showing events and boats at the canal. My parents moved a sailboat (with the mast stepped) from Rochester to NYC and travelled a more than a few miles on the canal.... in snowy weather!

  2. Love the song! When I was a kid my dad bought an album called Great American Folk Songs and one of the songs was about the Erie canal. I memorised it. Here is a link to a version of it:

    1. How neat! It is interesting to read about changes that have been made in the lyrics over the years.

  3. 340 miles long, I didn't know it was so long. :)


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