Summer '11

From the President

By David G. Barber

I’ve recently been upgrading the ACS web site, converting it from the old base program that was not up to today’s standards to a new base program that is. In the process of this and some recent canal trips, I have come across progress that I want to share with you.

First, in 2010, the restoration of the Delaware Canal (a state park for its entire sixty miles) in Pennsylvania from flood damage from three “100 year” floods was completed. In March, it seemed to be weathering the spring floods then happening with minimal new damage. The most interesting event on this canal was in Bristol, PA. If you look at Google earth aerials from April, 2010, you will still see Snyder Elementary School built across the line of the canal (despite the canal being a state park) as it has been since the 1950s. But, the school was old and a new school was being built nearby (off the canal alignment) when last the Pennsylvania Canal Society toured there. If you look at the most recent views of the site on Google earth, Snyder Elementary School is gone. If you then look at the Levittown Shopping Center, you will see that the recent redevelopment of the center has no buildings or parking areas on the canal alignment. Thus, for the first time in 60 or so years there are no buildings obstructing the canal route. Only highways and one railroad remain. Hooray!

Another site I visited recently is New Bremen, OH where at Miami and Erie Canal Lock 1 north, the lock house has been rebuilt as a corridor office and museum next to the recently restored lock. The area now looks much like it did in historic times. Congratulations to the community and to the Miami and Erie Canal Corridor Association and partners for this.

A third site to note is Tinkers Creek Aqueduct on the Ohio and Erie Canal in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. On the watered section of the canal, the old Tinkers Creek Aqueduct was in danger of collapse and was removed a few years ago and replaced by pipes and a pedestrian bridge for the towpath. When I passed the site in early April, a contractor had removed the new bridge and pipes and was busily rebuilding the aqueduct. Photos are in the photo section of the web site.

Meanwhile in Berlin, Wisconsin, the Berlin Boat Club is actively working to raise funds for the regating and return to service of Eureka Lock. This will reconnect the harbor facilities at Berlin to Lake Winnebago. An article on this was in the last American Canals. They have many fund raising events planned for this year.

On the Lower Fox River in Wisconsin, lock and bridge restoration has reached the point that eight of the seventeen locks will be open on summer weekends and holidays and a few of these will have added operating days. In a few more years, they plan to restore the remainder.

So, despite a slow economy, restoration progress is being made.

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