Demise of the Canal

Demise of the Canal (HM2N56)

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N 41° 38.019', W 74° 27.106'

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Inscription

Delaware & Hudson Canal

After its heyday in the late 1850's to 1870's, the canal gradually lost business to the faster, more efficient railroads, which could ship coal in the dead of winter and the dark of night. This loss of business resulted in layoffs of boats, fewer trips, and harder times for boatmen and for businesses along the canal. In 1890 there were 800 coal boats operating; by 1898 only 387 were making trips. On November 5 of that year, the last boat to haul coal made the full trip from Honesdale to Rondout. This was not a surprise to most people. Beginning in 1881, company managers had been announcing that the demise of the canal was imminent. Fewer boats traveled the canal every year and the boatmen and their mules were looking increasingly ragged.
In 1899 the company drained most of the canal, opening all the weirs and locks and letting the water pour out from Ellenville to Honesdale. The waterway continued to do business on its lower 35-mile stretch, shipping Rosendale cement and other local products to the Hudson until about 1920, when this section too was closed.
The demise of the canal was a serious blow to most of the waterside towns. Businesses failed, industries languished, and some-once-populous areas became virtual ghost towns. This sad state of affairs was reversed within the next few decades as the railroads became



prominent and brought settlers, tourists, and businesses to the area.
In some places the canal was converted into a road or filled in; in others, it became an empty ditch. For many decades it lay forgotten. However, in recent years, Sullivan, Orange, and Ulster counties in New York and Pike and Wayne Counties in Pennsylvania have preserved canal history in museums, historical societies, research libraries, and recreational trails. Today these counties and some towns are developing and maintaining recreational trails along the canal in an effort to link the D&H Canal.
In 1969, Sullivan County, recognizing the historical and recreational significance of the canal, purchased four acres of waterway and towpath and four locks. In 1986, Orange and Rockland Utilities donated more than forty-three acres for recreational development; and in 1990, Sullivan County opened a five-mile linear park in the town of Mamakating.
To date, the county has received over one million dollars in grants and has acquired eighty-three acres of parkland, five locks, and a dry dock. There are five miles of hiking trail on former canal towpath, interpretive sign displays, parking areas/trail heads, comfort stations, and picnic areas.
Details
HM NumberHM2N56
Tags
Placed ByDelaware & Hudson Canal Linear Park
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, November 23rd, 2019 at 1:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 545662 N 4609247
Decimal Degrees41.63365000, -74.45176667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 38.019', W 74° 27.106'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 38' 1.1399999999999" N, 74° 27' 6.3600000000001" 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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Nearby Markersshow on map
Ending at Rondout
0.01 miles
Lock No. 50
0.02 miles
Canal Basin & Sluiceway
0.03 miles
Dry Docks
0.04 miles
Locks
0.05 miles
Waste Weirs
0.05 miles
Towpath
0.12 miles
History of the Canal
0.15 miles
The Canal & the Railroad
0.97 miles
O&W & Summitville Station
0.99 miles
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