Tow Path Park

Tow Path Park (HM2LLV)

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N 42° 56.406', W 78° 54.447'

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barge movement before steam engines powered boats. Mules or other surefooted animals worked in teams to haul the heavy boats down the Canal while walking along the path. The animals changed places every six or seven hours. When not working, the animals were kept in the bowstable at the front of the boat, or at a stable in Buffalo during a layover. After boats became steam-powered, the tow path was used for recreation and as a community gathering spot. People would catch fish, sled or ice skate in the winter, congregate in boathouses and generally enjoy the water. Casual markets sprang up at the "foot" of streets, like Hertel Avenue, where fish and other goods were sold. Part of the Erie Canal and its tow path was filled in during construction of the Niagara Section of the New York State Thruway in 1959-1960. International Bridge The International Bridge, just south of Tow Path Park has always been an important rail connection with Canada. During days when trains were a major mode of long-distance transportation, streetcars carried people across the bridge to Fort Erie. Though it is no longer used for passenger traffic, the bridge remains an important link to Canada for freight shipment. The images on this panel show various old style vehicles from the period 1910-1920. You can also see how the Black Rock Station at the International Bridge looked when it was used for passenger traffic. The station housed customs personnel and a ticket office. New York State Thruway In 1940 the Niagara Frontier Planning Board proposed what they termed a "high speed boulevard" to be named Erie and Niagara Boulevard along the waterfront. The goal was to connect Hamburg with Niagara Falls. This "superdrive" would allow traffic to move through Buffalo, which would connect industries, and connect Buffalo with the Tonawandas. The Niagara Section of the New York State Thruway was completed in 1960. Unfortunately, demolition of the Towpath community to complete the highway affected the vitality of adjacent neighborhoods. The final filling in of the Erie Canal completely changed the character of this area, as people could no longer access the Niagara River for recreational activities. International Station located at Niagara and Parish. Image courtesy of GABA/Harvey Holzworth. International Bridge and old Black Rock area. Photo courtesy of GABA/Harvey Holzworth. A street car at Niagara and Farmer, 1920s. Image courtesy of GABA/Harvey Holzworth. An image of the ceremony in which the towpath became the thruway. Image courtesy of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. Background image is near the mouth of the Scajaquada Creek, courtesy of the Buffalo and Erie Historical Society. The waterway in the foreground of this image is what became the Thruway. [6th panel] Then & Now Black Rock Identity Today the Black Rock neighborhood has an identity rooted in the early struggle with Buffalo over the Erie Canal, as well as the industry that was located along the Niagara River. The present-day borders are less defined that they were during the area's early history, but the neighborhood around Tow Path Park remains closely tied to the history of this proud community. Images on This Panel The background image shows the path with a view North. The boats has square bows so more of them could fit along the path, however this made it difficult to navigate, so eventually the bows were changed back to points. The taxi stand shown in the photos on the top left and bottom right still exists at the corner of Hertel Avenue and East Street, though the roof has been changed. The automobiles shown are from around 1915. An old taxi cab company. This building still exists at Hertel & East (roof has changed). Image courtesy of GABA/Ed Wiedemann. A house aling the canal. Image courtesy of GABA/Ed Wiedemann. An old store in the Black Rock area. Image courtesy of GABA/Riverside Review. Cars c. 1915 in front of the taxi cab company pictured on the left of this panel. Image courtesy of GABA/Ed Wiedemann. Timeline Late 18th Century - First (non-Indian) Settlers 1802 - First Survey of the Land Around Buffalo by Ellicott, Given Permission by Holland Land Company to Lay Out a Town 1812-1814 War, Buffalo Burned During Winter 1813-1814 1816 - Buffalo Incorporated as a Village 1818-1822 - Canal Terminus Discussions 1821 - Black Rock Incorporated as Village - Erie County Created (Buffalo was County Seat) 1823 - Final Section of the Canal Begun at Black Rock 1825 Canal Construction Complete 1832 - Buffalo Incorporated as city c. 1854 - Merger of Buffalo and Black Rock
Series This marker is part of the Erie Canal series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 7th, 2019 at 11:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 670728 N 4756287
Decimal Degrees42.94010000, -78.90745000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 56.406', W 78° 54.447'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 56' 24.36" N, 78° 54' 26.82" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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