Limestone Locks and Overgrowth: The Chenango Canal - Purple Mountain Press


by Michele A. McFee

Please note: This title is now out of print, but bookstore returns are available at 10% off.

From Chapter 11:

"Ironically, the expenditure to enlarge the Erie eventually diminished the usefulness of the lateral canals. The larger boats accommodated on the new Erie could not fit on the smaller canals, which consequently lost the business of many shippers. The enlargement of the Erie also affected the lateral canals' ability to compete with the railroads, which had already whittled away the canal trade. Larger boats could now travel the Erie, but goods transferred to the lateral canals had to be moved onto smaller boats. The railroads had no such problem: they could simply transfer any of their cars to their branch lines. . .

As time went on, everything seemed to be working against the Chenango. By most peoples standards, it was failing. . . . The Erie succeeded because it was a through channel between the West and New York City; local commerce was secondary. The Chenango, though, depended heavily on local commerce, and eventually the business dried up. The excitement and convenience the canal brought were replaced with new avenues like the railroads and the enlarged Erie.

Public opinion in the Chenango Valley eventually mirrored that of the rest of the state, which came down heavily against the canals. . ."

The Chenango Canal, which connected Utica and Binghamton between 1837 and 1878, brought prosperity to numerous towns along its path and was an engineering success story.

"This book will interest general readers as well as canal buffs and historians. It is well written, and its scholarship is sound. The author writes with concern for the effects of the canal upon the area and the people influenced by it. She opens up the long-ago times and does it with verve, anecdote and historical accuracy...a fascinating and welcome account" --Lionel D. Wyld, author of Low Bridge! Folklore and the Erie Canal

Michele McFee is also the author of A Long Haul: The Story of the New York State Barge Canal. She is an archival assistant at Binghamton University and a director of the Canal Society of New York State.

240 pages, illustrated, 7 x 10, index, second printing 1998
$25.00 paperback--A Purple Mountain Press original

Copyright © 1999 Purple Mountain Press. All rights reserved.