Codorus Navigation

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Codorus Navigation
A network of east–west canals and connecting railroads spanned Pennsylvania from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. North–south canals connecting with this east–west canal ran between West Virginia and Lake Erie on the west, Maryland and New York in the center, and along the border with Delaware and New Jersey on the east. Many shorter canals connected cities such as York, Port Carbon, and Franklin to the larger network.
Map of historic Pennsylvania canals and connecting railroads
StatusAbandoned except for recreation and historic interest
Original ownerCodorus Navigation Company
Date of first use1832
Date completed1833
Date closed~1850
Start pointYork
End pointSusquehanna River at the mouth of Codorus Creek
Connects toSusquehanna River

The Codorus Navigation Company, based in York in south-central Pennsylvania, was formed in 1829 to make a navigable waterway along Codorus Creek from York, Pennsylvania to the Susquehanna River, a distance of 11 miles (18 km). Plans called for 3 miles (4.8 km) of canal, 8 miles (12.9 km) of slack-water pools, 10 dams, and 13 locks with an average lift of about 7 feet (2.1 m).[1]

The first 3 miles (4.8 km) of the system were finished in 1832, allowing boats named Codorus and Pioneer to run passenger excursions between York and Barnitz's Springs. After the entire system was opened to boats, arks, and rafts in 1833, the first ark to reach York carried 40,000 feet (12,192 m) of lumber and 100 passengers, and later arrivals brought such cargo as stone, coal, and shingles.[1]

Plans originally included a second canal from the mouth of Codorus Creek along the Susquehanna to calm water above Chestnut Ripples. This would have made entrance into the Codorus system easier for craft coming down the river, but the extension canal, though started, was never finished. Competition from the York and Maryland Railroad, which connected York to Baltimore by 1838, and the Wrightsville, York and Gettysburg Railroad, which began operations in 1840, put the Codorus canal out of business by about 1850.[1]

Codorus Navigation was one of several privately funded canals such as the Union Canal that operated in Pennsylvania during the same era as the Pennsylvania Canal. Though the canal fell into disuse in the middle of the 19th century, parts of its graded towpath, once used by the mules that pulled the boats, are becoming part of a rail trail along Codorus Creek between York and John Rudy County Park. The trail of 5.5 miles (8.9 km), a northern extension of Heritage Rail Trail County Park, will join 42 miles (68 km) of existing trail that begins in Ashland, Maryland, and ends in York. Construction began on the trail extension in 2006.[2]

Points of interest[edit]

Feature Coordinates Description
York 39°57′45″N 76°43′40″W / 39.96250°N 76.72778°W / 39.96250; -76.72778 (York, Pennsylvania)[3] City at the western terminus
Mouth of Codorus Creek 40°03′30″N 76°38′39″W / 40.05833°N 76.64417°W / 40.05833; -76.64417 (Codorus Creek mouth)Coordinates: 40°03′30″N 76°38′39″W / 40.05833°N 76.64417°W / 40.05833; -76.64417 (Codorus Creek mouth)[4] Creek mouth near the eastern terminus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Shank, William H. (1986). The Amazing Pennsylvania Canals, 150th Anniversary Edition. York, Pennsylvania: American Canal and Transportation Center. pp. 74–75. ISBN 0-933788-37-1.
  2. ^ Kuehnel, Paul (July 21, 2006). "An Old Path Offers New Solutions". York Daily Record.
  3. ^ "York". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. August 2, 1979. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  4. ^ "Codorus Creek". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. August 2, 1979. Retrieved March 21, 2009.

External links[edit]

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
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