Pennsylvania Canal

Pennsylvania Canal (HM452)

Location: Harrisburg, PA 17102 Dauphin County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 15.912', W 76° 52.763'

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The rise of Harrisburg's importance and distinction as one of the major transportation centers in the eastern United States was launched on March 14, 1827, by the laying of the cornerstone at the eastern end of Walnut Street downtown for the construction of Lock #6 of the Pennsylvania Canal. The completion of New York State's Erie Canal in 1824 prompted the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to explore the development of a transportation system to open up the interior of the state by linking Harrisburg with Pittsburgh. The completion of the Union Canal in 1827 from the Schuylkill River to Middletown had provided a means of travel in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. The Eastern Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, completed by 1831, however is what made Harrisburg the true dispatch point for the westward transport of goods and passengers through Pennsylvania's canal system, as Philadelphia by this time could be reached by rail via Columbia. Thus the groundwork was laid for the railroad routes that later evolved as tracks that first paralleled and later replaced the canal beds. The Eastern Division canal would follow the course of the Juniata River and move onward to the Allegheny Mountains, involving a series of aqueducts and portage railroads en route to Pittsburgh. While the canal system was relatively short-lived for passenger travel, with railroads entering upon the scene by the mid 19th Century, they remained primarily for the transport of freight until the system was entirely abandoned in 1901. Portions of the old canal bed are still visible along Industrial Road in northern Harrisburg adjacent to Wildwood Park.
Top Photo
Canal basin between State and North streets in 1895.
Middle Photo
Canal lock just south of State Street in 1900.
Bottom Photo
Late 1800's view of the steam-driven canal boat named "Montour" moving out of Harrisburg.
HM NumberHM452
Series This marker is part of the Pennsylvania: The Harrisburg History Project series
Placed ByThe Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 7:31am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 340193 N 4458886
Decimal Degrees40.26520000, -76.87938333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 15.912', W 76° 52.763'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 15' 54.72" N, 76° 52' 45.78" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 701 N 7th St, Harrisburg PA 17102, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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