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Yesterday we ended at a junction in the canal near red number 4 on the map below,  Montezuma NY.  Today we start about 50 miles mostly south at the southern end of Seneca Lake, at the town of Watkins Glen, at the balloon and red number 1.  This map clearly shows the Finger Lakes area.  The names of the lakes reflect the Haudenosaunee heritage, as this was once part of their homeland.  The numbers show the route we will follow back to Three Rivers.  We could have started at the X in Ithaca to get to the Erie Canal, but then we would miss the four locks on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.  In the 19th century, the Chemung Canal headed south from Watkins Glen, and by 1858, it connected to waterways in Pennsylvania, allowing for transportation of coal into the Erie Canal.   By 1878, however, all traffic ceased, and coal was transported by rail.  Only recently has a systematic survey of sunken canal boats and other vessels on the lake floor begun.  More here.

About halfway up Seneca Lake is a US Navy sonar testing facility I’ve seen only from land, likely from a high point in Sampson State Park .  Recall my caveats that I’ve not traveled much of this waterway.  The Finger Lakes area has a large number of wineries.

At the north end of the lake lies the town of Geneva, near what was once a major Seneca settlement known as Kanadaseaga.  Since 1818, this has been the top end of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, and we’re looking south here.

About five miles down the canal from the lake, we arrive at lock CS-4 in Waterloo.  My very subjective best association with Waterloo is that wagons and then wooden automobile bodies were crafted here.

Seneca Falls is well-known as the location of the 1848 convention that ultimately led to the 19th amendment. Today there’s a NPS Historical Park located in a former knitting mill.  Not so well-known is the town’s association with the 1946 movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.”  The story starts on this bridge, with an event in April 1917 that led to this plaque commemorating Antonio Varacalli‘s sacrifice.

It’s a busy place for their canal fest.

Three very subjective associations:  Seneca Meadows Landfill, aka Mt. Garbage, and please do read that link for lots of superlatives and rankings as well as some innovation;  and Sauders Country Store.

And finally, this image of a notice from the late 1880s, commemorating an enterprising salt water captain who dragged a whale all the way here 132 years ago.  Likely, mules were involved, and I suppose it was on a deck barge.  The farther away from the sea he showed his prize, the less spectators were willing to smell, see, i.e., spectate.

If you’re expecting a falls at Seneca Falls . . .  it’s been gone for over 100 years, even since Van Cleef Lake was created, covering the falls.  The building is Trinity Church.

At the north end of Van Cleef, doubled locks CS-3 and 2,  are located.

Tug Syracuse exits the bottom of CS-2 as a flotilla of kayaks waits to enter to be lifted to Van Cleef.

The waterway between Seneca Lake and the

top of Cayuga Lake is narrow, tree-lined and splendid.  And beyond the trees to the left, marsh.  More on that soon.

At the top end of Cayuga Lake, we approach CS-1.

As I said before, this is a wetland area.  The name of the original inhabitants, the Cayuga, literally means “People of the Great Swamp.”  As is true of the Mohawks and Oneidas, the Cayugas have begun purchasing their land back.

The waterway below CS-1 travels along the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, public land preserving the wetland habitat for the many animals that live there. The link in that previous sentence seems to carefully avoid mentioning glacial Lake Iroquois, mentioned earlier in relation to the Noses.   The white spots on the horizon are trucks on the NYS Thruway, I-90.  Looking directly to the right of the tree, the Erie Canal for a short distance runs parallel to the Interstate, beyond the Interstate.  That’s where the junction at my newly-dubbed Tadadaho Island is and where we’re headed.

This drone shot looks southward back toward the junction, which you can almost see following the Seneca River;  where it takes a 90-degree turn to the right, that’s Tadadaho Island.  In the foreground you notice the remnants of an aqueduct.  If you followed the remnants off to the left, you’d be in Montezuma NY.

Here a tug/barge are about to pass it.  Note the people to the right standing on the aqueduct.

Looking back at it, you can see the arches.  There were 31 arches when it was completed in 1857;  all but 7 were demolished for the construction of the Barge Canal.  More here.

Let’s drop anchor overnight here so that you can check the links and maybe go ashore to a well-preserved lock over 150 years old at Four (yes, 4!)  Canals Park.  An alternative is to go over to the Wildlife Refuge and look for birds.

For drone shots, thanks to Jim Kerins.  Other photos, many thanks to Bob Stopper and Michael Riley, also author of Twelve and a Half Miles:  The Erie Canal in Cayuga County and Bridge Dams on the Mohawk.

There are at least two more installments coming.  To continue this series, I’ll reiterate what I said yesterday:  if you’ve done any part of the NYS Canals–even 10 years ago– and feel like adding here any info or photos, activity or historical context, please contact me.  You can supply photos of the area, activity, constituent, or era . . . Together we’ll collaborate to get that represented.  It could be like this one cruising the Champlain Canal in the 1950s.

How many locks have you noticed since Lockport?

Actually, there are none.  The entire 60-mile stretch with all the lift bridges is at a same level, 513′ above sea level.  And adjacent to lock 32, is a sign of contemporary water use, a kayak park.

The Pittsford Canal Shop  lies west of the village.

The village features some fine examples of preservation and adaptive reuse.  Note beyond the replica packet boat Sam Patch, named for a local daredevil,  is a converted silo complex.  A memory of my childhood is summer Saturday night with a truckload of pickles, some of which I’d picked,  for the Forman’s piccalilli plant.

Several places along this trip already I’ve pointed out that the adjacent land is lower than water level.  This is especially true east (actually SE) of Pittsford on a location called the Great Embankment, and area where–to avoid locks–the canal water is carried on an embankment over Irondequoit Creek.  This is risky, and breaches have occurred. Beside and below the embankment is the hamlet of Bushnell’s Basin, a transshipment point in the early days before the embankment was completed.  Richardson’s Canal House is located in the hamlet.

After we round the Great Embankment, we arrive in Fairport. Here excursion boat Colonial Belle makes her way westbound under the Fairport Lift Bridge, a local landmark currently closed for repairs. Colonial Belle has the distinction of having arrived in this part of the canal on her own bottom via the Panama Canal from the West Coast US.

Enjoy the beautiful pre-0700 morning in Fairport.

In my experience, this stretch of the canal gets lots of use at almost all hours.

Signage helps the traveler see what is no longer here, what led to a here being here.

Commuters use the less-traveled, economy connector between Fairport and Macedon.

Some schoolkids were very enthusiastic as we exit lock E-29 in Palmyra.  I’ve been told by a reliable source that lock E-29 power house used to supply power to both lock 29 and 30, since the Barge Canal dates to a time before the national power grid.  The area near the lock includes a park where you can see a reconstructed 19th century canal change (not chain) bridge, where mules towing barges would change from one side of the canal to the other.  Evidence of three-arch stone Ganargua Creek Aqueduct is also right near the lock.  And, in town, a short walk from Port of Palmyra marina, is a set of five museums referred to as Historic Palmyra.

Palmyra plays a role in a book focusing on the transmission of spiritual ideas along the Erie Canal, Heaven’s Ditch, by Jack Kelly.  Not far from here were the places that catapulted Joseph Smith, the Fox sisters, and more into the spotlight.  The canal itself served as a conduit for religious ideas, social movements, trade goods, and of course many immigrants.  And this part of the canal is sometimes referred to as the “burnt-over district” because of all the spiritual movements stemming for here.

East of Palmyra a spillway captures the overflow form the canal, forming Ganargua Creek, aka Mud Creek, a place that played a wet role in my childhood.

Port Gibson, aka Wide Waters, one of the many ports along the Erie Canal, is Ontario County’s only footprint on the Erie Canal.

The canal into Newark gets quite narrow, as you see with Urger eastbound.  Route 31 runs between the bank and that farm.  And again, driving on 31, you could have no sense that a major waterway can be found below that bank.

Here’s roughly the same location on a very cold morning about four months later.

HR Pike headed through this stretch with brewing tanks from China for Rochester’s Genesee Brewing Company.

Tugboats like HR Pike above and Margot below need telescoping wheelhouses and ballasted barges in order to to squeeze beneath bridges like this one in Newark.

East of town, we get to lock E-28B, where a tender is pushing a deck barge eastbound.

Before we leave Newark, a town of  9000 today, down from 12,000 in 1960, have a look here and here at some of the history of the town.  For a few years, the Mora automobile was made here, until it went bankrupt.  Looking back on the transit we’ve made so far, Rochester once made automobiles as well, including the Cunningham, a 1920 model of which is now in Jay Leno’s mega-garage.   And going back even farther all the way to Lake Erie, Buffalo was the home of Pierce Arrow, many models of which can be seen in the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum.  Pierce began making bird cages, then bicycles, and then automobiles.   One of two Moras still extant can be seen in Norwich NY.  

And maybe someone can comment on why there is no E-31 and E-28 has a part A and a part B?

Some Newark photos, thanks to Bob Stopper.

 

More than a week ago, these tanks entered the Erie Canal system at lock E-2 in Waterford.  Sunday afternoon they tied up for the night in Lyons below E-27.  Let’s call the first nine photos here Batch 1.

 

This morning early, they made their way through E-27 and then on to E-28A.

Here’s a view back toward E-27 and the village of Lyons . . . around the bend.

The forward most barge gets pushed in, unmade from the second barge, and then CMT Otter reverses out with that second barge.

The unaccompanied barge is moved out the upper gates by means of the capstan, a machine as old as the Barge Canal and very infrequently used.

After this barge is moved forward and secured to the wall, the gates close, the lock is drained, the lower gates opened, and the rest of the tow enters to be raised to the level of the forward barge.

These next photos taken west of Newark . . . E-28 B . . . show just how narrow this part of the Canal is, and

silt that’s lain on the bottom gets stirred up.

Here’s an article from the NYTimes, but I wish the author had spoken with a wider range of informants.

Many thanks to Bob Stopper (1,2, 6, 7) , Jason Ladue (8, 9) , and John Van Dorp (3, 4, 5) for these photos.

Now Batch 2, thanks to Bob Stopper.  Bob took this batch this morning very near my “upstate home,”  between Newark and Widewaters.  Note that this batch is moved by HR Pike.  

For a long tow, this part of the Canal  (same as here) is very narrow.

It’s mind-boggling that these inland waters are directly connected to the Pacific Ocean and China, but it’s the case.

The school bus here is crossing the Whitbeck Road Bridge, a span I’ve crossed probably a thousand times . . .

Many thanks to all, especially to Bob Stopper, who was unstoppable in getting these photos just this morning.

 

 

 

In the drizzle, BBC Alabama awaits cargo in Port of Albany.

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Pocomoke transfers cargo,

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Brooklyn heads south,

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Hudson Valley sentinels keep vigil no matter

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how much rain falls,

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Doris hangs with Adelaide,

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as does Coral Coast with Cement Transporter 5300,

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Strider rests from striding,

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Union Dede docks at a port that 10 years ago was sleepy,

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HR Pike (?) rests on rolling spuds,

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Saugerties Light houses B&B guests,

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not far from Clermont, home of the father-in-law of the father of steam boating on the Hudson and then the Mississippi,

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Comet pushes Eva Leigh Cutler to the north,

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Spooky‘s colors look subdued in the fall colors, and

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two shipyard relatives meet.

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Will Van Dorp took all these photos in a 12-hour period.

Continuing with a record of random towing vessels encountered along the “go west” route, let’s pick up with HR Pike, another low air draft tug formerly associated with the GE cleanup.

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I’m not sure what the cargo here is, but this vessel lacks any hint of sheer.

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Here’s what I believe is a fleet mate of HR Otter . . . Helen Laraway.

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See how much has changed about the operation in Coeymans, if my claim of 18 months ago here was correct then.

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Otter and Laraway both operate out of the port of Coeymans, a former brickyard that has become a booming hub for staging shipment of construction materials. Pun intended.

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I’m guessing that it won’t be long before Otter gets painted to match Pike, its older sibling by one year.

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Just north of the port of Coeymans Coral Coast is standing by at the loading facility for the quarries at Ravenna.

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And in this Hudson River shoreline setting that bears resemblance to a jungle, south of Albany, it’s a USACE spud barge and

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pushboat Sentinel II.  Sorry I don’t know any more about its project.

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The banks up north of Catskill are magical, as seen here with morning fog and Olana, the Persian palace of Frederic Church.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes to get back this way again later this summer.

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