Cracking Pendleton – An Annual Spring Ritual

The New York State Canal Corporation crew is here to open the canal for another season.   The invention of direct current electricity made it practical with guard gates like these to drain the canal for the winter each season, and to refill it again the following spring. Electric motors will power these massive steel … Read more

Erie Canal Bankwatch – Searching For Leaks Since 1825

Muskrats were notorious for digging their homes into the banks of the Original Erie Canal, but the banks of the modern Barge Canal are so large that animal activity isn’t the threat it used to be.   Leaks were common in especially the original canal, and “hurry-up” boats like this were expected to get to … Read more

Erie Canal Mules – The Perfect Animal For the Job

This mule is being “tailed” down the “horse bridge” to enjoy some fresh grass with his companion before heading out (note the towrope attached to the whipple-tree on the towpath between the two animals). Teams on the Erie alternated in shifts of  six hours on and six off around the clock.  This picture and the … Read more