The Village of Delta – Keeping the Big Locks Filled

three erie canals

The modest flow of the Mohawk River at Rome could keep up with the locks of the Original Erie (top left), and of the Improved Erie (bottom left), but for the needs of the modern Barge Canal (bottom right), a reservoir would have to be built. In 1812, construction began on a dam in the Mohawk that would create Delta Lake, named after the town that was flooded in order to keep the massive locks of the modern barge canal up and running.


delta empire hotel

Downtown Delta, NY circa 1905


delta main street

A reverse view of the previous photo


delta dam construction

Dam construction is underway. The cranes in this picture resemble those used eighty years earlier to remove excavated rock from the Deep Cut at Lockport.


delta work on dam

In the time before they put tracks on excavators, temporary rails like these were used to move heavy equipment over soft soils. (also see the preceding picture)


delta dam labeled

The completed Delta Dam as seen facing northeast. The Black River Canal connected the Erie Canal to the Black River and operated as a feeder from about 1850 to 1920, or just a few years after the modern Barge Canal and Delta Dam were finished. The ample water supply from Delta Lake, along with improvements in roads probably hastened its abandonment. The aqueduct you see in this picture is a dry foot bridge over the Mohawk River at this site today.


delta dam today

Delta Dam today showing the control house and water flowing into the Mohawk River


delta village map

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