Engineering the Erie Canal Historical

Engineering the Erie Canal Historical (HM1UWZ)

Location: Tonawanda, NY 14150 Erie County
Buy New York State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 43° 0.882', W 78° 53.793'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
You are standing on the bed of the Erie Canal, a 363 mile long, 40 ft. wide, 7 ft. deep "ditich" built from 1817 to 1825 that connected Lake Erie waters with the Hudson River and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. It unleashed a flood of products, people and new ideas which accelerated westward migration, created thriving communities along its route and transformed New York into the Empire State. Without the benefit of professional engineers massive excavations, dams, locks, bridges and aqueducts were completed using only dynamite, hand tools, and the muscles of man and beast. Many of these feats were accomplished here in the Tonawandas. To accommodate mule-drawn barges the flattest terrain between Tonawanda and Lake Erie needed to be utilized - the route paralleling the Niagara River. (Note towpath at right.) By the 1920s steam powered ships easily mastered the River's current allowing this section of the Canal to be abandoned. Tonawanda Dam One of the first construction projects at the western end of the Canal was a wooden dam acrosss the mouth of Tonawanda Creek to raise its water level by four feet. This improved the navigability of the Creek and also allowed a watering of the manmade channel to Buffalo. Coffer Dam enabling remedial work near Bouck Street. With little to stabilize the canal banks,
repair work, gredging and debris removal, was contnuously required. Most of this work was done during the quiet winter months. The Towpath Crossover at Gibson Street. To accommodate land traffic, bridges were built over the Canal at Main, Seymour, Bouck and Gibson Streets. Oops...Sometimes Yankee ingenuity had some unintended consequences. The State Ditch. Due to the elevated water level caused by the Tonawanda Creek Dam, severe flooding occurred every spring. To control the flooding State Engineers dug a ditich which ran from Ellicott Creek through town to the River.Flooding at Fuller Ave. Unfortunately the State Ditch did not alleviate the problem and large areas of the City continued to be overwhelmed by flooding until 1918 when the dam was removed. The Electric Mule. Another ill-conceived project was the attempt in 1896 to electrify canal transportation. Barges were towed by an electric motor (dubbed the "electric mule") that travelled on an overhead cable suspended on 12 ft. high teepee-like structures placed every 40 ft. along the canal bank from Tonawanda to Buffalo. Frequently the weight of the motor and operator caused the cable to sag encumbering forward progress. The whole contraption proved to be unreliable and was abandoned.
Series This marker is part of the Erie Canal series
Placed ByHistorical Society of the Tonawandas
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 9th, 2016 at 9:01am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 671410 N 4764594
Decimal Degrees43.01470000, -78.89655000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 0.882', W 78° 53.793'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 0' 52.92" N, 78° 53' 47.58" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)716
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Riverwalk, Tonawanda NY 14150, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. What historical period does the marker represent?
  2. What historical place does the marker represent?
  3. What type of marker is it?
  4. What class is the marker?
  5. What style is the marker?
  6. Does the marker have a number?
  7. What year was the marker erected?
  8. This marker needs at least one picture.
  9. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  10. Is the marker in the median?