Sunday, April 22, 2012

Erie Canal research

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to tour the Erie Canal route in the Albany area with Tom Carroll, science historian and executive director of the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway, an education and preservation organization. This gave me an up-close look at sites where DeWitt Clinton would've inspected the route or sailed through it once the canal was built, and what they look like now.

This nondescript parking lot in Albany was recently discovered to be the site of Lock 1 of the original Erie Canal.
That stone in the foreground is a remnant.
Somewhat further north, some much more visible infrastructure.
A portion that ran along the Schuyler estate; the nearby house was destroyed by vandals in the 1960s.
There was not much NIMBY sentiment back in the 19th century; people wanted the canal to be close to their houses.
A building where the mules that towed the boats were housed.
A lock of the enlarged canal, built a couple of decades after the original.
Remnant of a weighlock, in which boats were weighed.
The Cohoes Falls, an important source of power generation.
An example of reuse of the canal route for recreation.
Clute's Dry Dock, once a bustling place of boat building and repair.
This tour was pursuant to my writings on history relevant to DeWitt Clinton including family history, as my wife and our son DeWitt are descendants. (See links in "DeWitt Clinton Family" box to the side of this blog.) It also was an eye-opener as to the value and potential of the canal infrastructure as a New York State asset and attraction. Along the way, we ran into several people with a strong sense of that, including Brian U. Stratton and John Callaghan, respectively director and deputy director of the New York State Canal Corporation. Friendly people from the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway were on hand as well at the A.C. Stevens nature and historic preserve shown below.

A relocated bridge designed by famous 19th-century engineer Squire Whipple.
A view of the canal from the bridge.

UPDATE 1/25/13: I've posted a PDF of my articles relevant to DeWitt Clinton and family.

UPDATE: What I'm working on.

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