Utica Harbor is a unique feature of the NYS Canal System and was purposely nestled close to Utica’s major textile industries adjacent to the Erie Canal. The Utica Harbor is the only harbor on the Barge Canal with its own lock. It also possesses one of the largest branches leading from the main channel passing through the Mohawk River to its end, only a quarter mile from Utica’s downtown district. [Read more…] about The History and Development of Utica Harbor
New Accessible Oneida Lake Boat Launch Construction Underway
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the start of construction of a new boat launch on the Barge Canal at Cove Road in the town of Verona, Oneida County, to enhance fishing and boating recreational opportunities.
The boat launch will connect to Oneida Lake and its world-class fishing. [Read more…] about New Accessible Oneida Lake Boat Launch Construction Underway
A Brief History of the Mohawk River
Imagine the Mohawk River flowing with more force than Niagara Falls. Around 22,000 years ago, that’s exactly how it was. During the last ice age, the Laurentide Glacier began to melt, forming a large lake atop the glacier. As the glacier receded north, it opened access to the Mohawk River, which for thousands of years had been buried beneath the two-mile thick block of ice. Suddenly, all that lake water had somewhere to go.
The deluge of water that was released was so great that it carved an entirely new riverbed. It was so great in fact, that geologists gave the river a new name; the Iromohawk. Water rushed down the valley, carving away the cliffs of Clifton Park, the gorge at Cohoes, and the channel at Rexford. The river also curved back onto itself, creating the bend around Schenectady that the Mohawk follows today. [Read more…] about A Brief History of the Mohawk River
A Canal Gunpowder Blast: The Day Verona Beach’s Waterfront Was Razed
The Oneida County resorts of Sylvan and Verona Beach are located on the sandy eastern shore of Oneida Lake. This twenty-two mile lake, and its geographic orientation, affords this setting spectacular sunsets. These factors made the eastern shore a desirable vacation destination in the nineteenth century, and a thriving resort community developed along Wood Creek.
Originally, Wood Creek had been improved in the late eighteenth century by the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company as part of that private entity’s effort to link the Mohawk River to Lake Ontario. [Read more…] about A Canal Gunpowder Blast: The Day Verona Beach’s Waterfront Was Razed
Canal Blow-Out: The Big Break in Syracuse in 1907
In 1903, voters in New York State ratified the Barge Canal referendum which provided for construction of our present canal system. The Barge Canal design is an integrated improvement of natural lakes and rivers, with only short stretches of pure canal to eliminate bends and to link the natural bodies together.
The Barge Canal was designed to be used only by motorized vessels. The former canals had been completely man-made, elevated above and across the natural bodies of water. This feature allowed the older version of the canal to nearly eliminate any current, thereby making draft animals practical. [Read more…] about Canal Blow-Out: The Big Break in Syracuse in 1907
Henry Ford’s Barge Canal Fleet: A Short History
Few industrialists in the history of the United States have been so widely involved in multiple production operations as Henry Ford. His business philosophy was to operate and control all phases of his manufacture, which included transportation between production facilities.
Certain operations of his automobile empire involved the transportation of raw materials, and completed sub-assemblies between the main plants in the Detroit area, and satellite plants on the eastern seaboard.
Ford, a trenchant industrialist, realized that the New York State Barge Canal offered business a tremendous economic corridor between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. [Read more…] about Henry Ford’s Barge Canal Fleet: A Short History
Mohawk River Bridge Dams: Engineering Landmarks
The Mohawk River has been used as a transportation corridor since the beginning of human settlement. Indigenous people used the river to move east and west, as did the first European explorers and those who followed. The river was shallow and relatively slow flowing. Along the 120-miles between Rome and the Hudson river, there are two waterfalls. The largest of the two is near the eastern end of the river, where the water flows over a 90-foot high falls at Cohoes. At Little Falls the river flows over a series of rapids that are 45-feet in height. [Read more…] about Mohawk River Bridge Dams: Engineering Landmarks
A Sunken Buffalo Canal Barge, A Coal Baron, A Canal Diver & A Publisher
On June 17, 1909 the Broadalbin Herald newspaper reported on a canal boat that sunk in Fort Hunter that was loaded with 240 tons of salt. The barge, George Bleistein had been hauling the salt in a “double header” (both barges being towed together) along with the Col. J.H. Horton. Both barges were from Buffalo and captained by George H. Ray of Port Byron. The George Bleistein sank ON the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct.
Reportedly, a steam pump and diver were required to raise the boat and the cargo was thought to be a total loss. The bags of salt were consigned to The International Salt Company of New York, which continues today in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. [Read more…] about A Sunken Buffalo Canal Barge, A Coal Baron, A Canal Diver & A Publisher
Matton Shipyard Preservation Receives Funding
The Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, the nonprofit partner of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, has announced funding from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) for the Matton Shipyard Preservation and Adaptive Reuse Initiative in Cohoes.
Announced on December 13, the funding award of $373,400 is expected to be used to stabilize three original structures of the early 20th century ship building and repair facility, remediate environmental hazards, and stabilize 740-feet of Hudson River shoreline to prevent further erosion. [Read more…] about Matton Shipyard Preservation Receives Funding
Guarding the Barge Canal During World War One
This week on “The Historians” podcast, Bob Cudmore relates how his grandmother, Margaret Cook, boarded soldiers who were guarding the New York Barge Canal lock in Randall during World War I. He also has the story of German native Bill Fennhahn who became an American war hero in World War II. Listen to the podcast here. [Read more…] about Guarding the Barge Canal During World War One