For nearly a century, canal boats were pulled by mules and horse over this portion of New York State's famed Erie Canal.
One of the slowest and most crowded parts of the waterway started to the north of the Flatts at Maplewood. Here Began the Tortuous series of 21 locks that raised the canal up to the Mohawk Valley and around the 70 foot cliffs of the Cohoes Falls. Situated between this traffic to the north and Albany's busy lumber district to the south, the stretch of the Erie Canal through the Flatts was comparatively quiet.
Boats that did not need to sop at the harbor in Albany bypassed this portion of the canal altogether by using the sidecuts in West Troy (now Watervliet) just north of the Flatts to get to the Hudson River. Still, nearly a hundred canal boats passed here on average every day in the mid-19th century.
The Original Erie Canal Referred to derisively by early critics of the project as "Clinton's Ditch," the original canal was only 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide, and carried boats up to 75 tons. Construction began in 1817 and was completed in 1825.
The Enlarged Erie Canal Soon the original canal was so overburdened with traffic that an enlargement was begun in 1835. Completed here in 1842, the canal was expanded to a depth of 7 feet and a width of 70 feet. It handled boats carrying three times more tonnage than the original canal.
With the opening of the Barge Canal in 1917, which joined the Mohawk Valley directly to the Hudson river at Waterford, the canal along this section was abandoned and most of it was eventually filled in. This small section before you remains unfilled.