Thursday, June 25, 2009

Clinton's big ditch

a broken place about midway up the wall in the lock

Backing up a bit...

The Saturday after we arrived, our friends had made reservations for a packet boat ride on the Erie Canal and we spent a pleasant two hours motoring up and down.  

The original Erie Canal was finished in 1825, hand dug it was the engineering marvel of its day. It included 18 aqueducts to carry the canal over ravines and rivers, and 83 locks, with a rise of 568 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. It was 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide, and floated boats carrying 30 tons of freight. A ten foot wide towpath was built along the bank of the canal for horses, mules, and oxen which pulled the boats along.  It opened up the West and gave a great boost to the economy.  The price for a ton of cargo was reduced from $100 to $2.  It was enlarged twice, the last one completed in 1918.  You can read more about the Erie Canal here.

On our ride we went through one of the locks.  It took about 10 minutes for the water level to rise 25 feet and let us out the other end. The original lock doors were wood and operated by hand.

The original canal went right through Rochester but with the third and last enlargement, Rochester was by-passed.  One of the old locks still remains in town, all overgrown.  I found this to be really fascinating.  I loved seeing the old stonework of the walls and that section of the canal is still there.  I don’t know if it has water in it all the time but it did when we were there.  Of course, it had rained recently so...


  1. This was fascinating, Ellen. Somehow we always think of the Erie Canal as being very deep. I like going to places where things are manufactured, or places that once changed the way we did things. If you ever get the chance to visit a hydro electric plant/dam - they are very interesting. We really enjoyed a tour of the Grand Coolie Dam. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The Erie Canal was finished in October of 1825, not 1828.

  3. Thanks Nancy. We have been to the Hoover Dam and it is really just awesome. are correct. A typo on my part which I have fixed.


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