Chemung Canal

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The Chemung Canal is a former canal in New York, USA. The canal connected Seneca Lake at Watkins Glen to the Chemung River at Elmira, New York. Its larger significance was to connect New York's Erie Canal system with Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River watershed.

The state government allocated $300,000 for the construction, which started in 1830 and was completed in 1833. Opening to full service was delayed because of damage from a rainstorm in May 1833. Damage by rain and flooding was a yearly problem during the use of the canal. Forty-nine locks were needed to raise and lower the barges along the canal.

The selection of the Chemung Canal's route was a disappointment to Ithaca, New York, which had hoped to make the Erie-Susquehanna connection via Cayuga Lake.[1]

In 1854, the completion of the Junction Canal extended the length of the canal system southward from the Chemung River into Pennsylvania. A feeder canal connected the Chemung Canal to the Corning area.

The canal fell into disuse and disrepair by 1878, and parts of its right of way were sold off. Subsequently, the poor drainage of the canal remnants required expenditures to correct the nuisance of undrained water. Like many other canals, the Chemung Canal could not compete with the railroad companies.

While it was in use, the Chemung Canal enabled coal, lumber, and agricultural products to be shipped from Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York northward, where the Erie Canal could move the goods into the world market. Canal barges were towed the length of Seneca Lake from Watkins Glen to Geneva and the Cayuga and Seneca Canal system, which connected to the Erie Canal.

The growth of Southern Tier cities such as Elmira and Corning was enhanced by the canal.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kammen, Carol (2009-08-15). "Pieces of the Past: Ithaca's waterfront has seen numerous uses". Ithaca Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-15. [dead link]

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