The Erie Canal

The Erie Canal (HMSBL)

Location: Cohoes, NY 12047 Albany County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 46.765', W 73° 42.203'

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Power Canal Park | Cohoes NY

The Erie Canal flowed through Cohoes along two distinct paths during the 19th century. The first phase, 1825-1841, is commonly referred to as "Clinton's Ditch" after New York Governor DeWitt Clinton, who was the foremost advocate for construction of the canal. This canal flowed through the site on which you are standing. From 1842 to early 20th century, the enlarged Erie Canal flowed along a route slightly to the west of this site (uphill from where you are standing). The Erie Canal traversed New York, connecting Albany and the Hudson River in the east with Buffalo and the Great Lakes in the west. Cohoes and its industries benefited greatly from the increased ease of shipping raw materials in and finished products out along the canal.

The Enlarged Erie
The enlarged Erie Canal, opened in April 1842, was the largest hydraulic project of the 19th century. The enlarged canal was 350 miles long, and was both wider (70 feet) and deeper (7 feet) than the original canal. It had double-chamber locks to permit barge travel in both directions, with 72 lift locks; 10 of these (Locks 9-18) were in Chohes, the greatest concentration of locks along the Erie Canal. Many of these limestone locks can still be seen today. Lock 18 (shown above) is a fine example of the double-chambered locks, and can be found north of this site on the western side of North Mohawk Street.

"Clinton's Ditch" - The Original Erie Canal
The original canal was 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep, and 363 miles long. The system had 83 single-chamber locks, with 19 of them in Cohoes to surmount the Cohoes Falls. "Clinton's Ditch" was a surprising success but was soon found inadequate for the shipping traffic that developed. In 1836 work was begun on an enlargement of the canal to speed transport. The new and enlarged canal was built several hundred feet west of this site; it was opened for shipping in 1842.

What became of "Clinton's Ditch"?
Upon completion of the enlarged Erie Canal, the Canal Corporation abandoned "Clinton's Ditch." The old canal property in Cohoes was transfered to the Cohoes Company, which converted much of it to power canals for the mills, giving the original Erie Canal a second life in Cohoes as a generator of power for industry.
You are standing in a former portion of "Clinton's Ditch", one of the last visible remnants of the Original Erie Canal in Cohoes, which later saw use as a power canal. At the southern end of this park are the remnants of Lock 39 of the original Erie Canal. About 500 feet to the north of this site, Locks 37 and 38 of the canal lie under the pump house and adjacent building.
Series This marker is part of the Erie Canal series
Year Placed2004
Placed ByCity of Cohes
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 13th, 2014 at 5:37am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 606063 N 4737135
Decimal Degrees42.77941667, -73.70338333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 46.765', W 73° 42.203'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 46' 45.90" N, 73° 42' 12.18" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)518
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4 N Mohawk St, Cohoes NY 12047, US
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