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Introduction to Pennsylvania's Historic Canals
(Including 27 selected sites)

You can click right on the map for sites with presentations and short descriptions!
Sites which have links are connected to pages with pictures, directions and 
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1. National Canal Museum.
2750 Hugh Moore Park Rd, Easton, PA 18042. Easton is located at the eastern end of the Lehigh Canal, the northern end of the Delaware Canal, and directly across the Delaware River from the western end of the Morris Canal in Phillipsburg, NJ. The Museum contains an excellent overview of the canal era with permanent and changing exhibits. Open year round. Admission charged. Call for times and schedule. (610-515-8000).

2. Hugh Moore Park. Six miles of restored Lehigh Canal with locks from Delaware River west through Easton. The Lehigh Canal between Jim Thorpe and Easton was 46 miles in length, had 47 lift locks, and was in use from 1829 to 1934. Park has excellent picnic area, towpath trail, Locktender's House at Guard Lock #8, restored to about 1890. Mule-drawn Canal Boat Rides in park May through September. Fee charged. Call for times and schedule. (610-515-8000).

3. Allentown, Bethlehem and Freemansburg. Continuous 11 mile canal park on Lehigh Canal with six preserved locks. Towpath trail. Original 1828 cut stone Locktender's House (on the National Register of Historic Places) at Lock #44 maintained by Old Freemansburg Association. (610-868-3103).

4. Walnutport. Attractive canal town on the Lehigh Canal, 13 miles north of Allentown on Rt. 145. Four and one half mile towpath trail along restored canal includes Lock #22 to Lock #25. Original 1828 cut stone Locktender's House (on the National Register of Historic Places) at restored Lock #23 is open Sunday afternoons May to October and by appointment. Small fee charged. Maintained by Walnutport Canal Association. (610-767-5817).

5. Lehigh Canal Park. 5.5 miles of canal, almost 4 miles of which are cleared and rewatered, with towpath trail and 12 preserved locks from Jim Thorpe to Parryville. Beautiful mountain scenery. Maintained by Lehigh Canal Recreation Commission. (610-377-3856).

6. Delaware Canal State Park. Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania Canal System. A National Historic Landmark, a National Recreation Trail, and part of the 150 mile long Delaware and Lehigh Canal National Heritage Corridor, the towpath trail is 59.3 miles from Easton to Bristol. The canal, completed in 1832, with 24 locks, remains with many of its features as they were during its commercial operation which ended in 1932. Many excellent places exist to view the canal along Route 611 from Easton to Kintnersville, then Route 32 to Morrisville, and in Bristol, where there has been major restoration. (610-982-5560).

7. New Hope. Rts. 202 and 32. 19th century canal town on the Delaware Canal. New Hope Canal Boat Ride, 149 S. Main Street, in New Hope. A mule drawn barge ride on the Delaware Canal. June, July and August. One hour ride. Fee charged. Phone for times and schedule. (215-862-0758). Visit Locktender's House at Lock #11. Open weekdays 11 to 4, and Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 4 May through October. Maintained by Friends of the Delaware Canal. (215-862-2021).


photo by Gerri Bibiase

8. Manayunk Canal. 1.5 mile section of Schuylkill Navigation Canal in vibrant canal-front community of Manayunk in Philadelphia. Gravel towpath is now part of Schuylkill River Trail. Canal completed in 1818. Good views of Locks #68, #69 and #70 as well as of ruins of sluice house, Locktender's house and Flat Rock Dam. The 108 mile long Schuylkill Navigation, from Port Carbon to Philadelphia, was completed in 1825, with 72 locks, 62 miles of canals, and 46 miles of slack water. It operated until 1931. Maintained by Fairmount Park Commission in cooperation with Manayunk Development Corporation. (215-482-9565, ext. 204).

9. Schuylkill Canal Park. Located at Mont Clare, near Phoenixville, 2.5 mile section of navigable canal includes Lock #60 and the 1836 Locktender's House (on the National Register of Historic Places). House and canal park maintained by Schuylkill Canal Association. (610-917-0021).

10. Allegheny Creek Aqueduct. Near Gibralter at the intersection of Rts. 724 and 568, the 112.5 ft. long aqueduct carried Schuylkill canal boats over Allegheny Creek. The fully restored aqueduct (on the National Register of Historical Places) was built in 1824 and continued in use until 1931. Maintained by Berks County Parks and Recreation Department. (610-372-8939 or 610-374-8839).

11. Leesport Lock House. Off Rt. 61, in Leesport, South Wall Street at Lock #36. House built in 1834 and restored to 1880-1910 period. Available for small group meetings. Fee charged. Maintained by Leesport Lock House Foundation in cooperation with Berks County Parks & Recreation Department. (610-926-5665).

12. Port Clinton. Hamlet, on Rt. 61 four miles north of Hamburg in a gap in the Blue Mountains, has a 1.1 mile section of the Schuylkill Canal Towpath Trail and four locks including Lock #25, the deepest single lock (14 ft.) on the upper canal. Port Clinton Transportation Museum, on Penn Street, one block west of Rt. 61, is devoted to the history of the Schuylkill Navigation Canal. Operated by Northern Berks-Southern Schuylkill Historical Association. Call for schedule. (610-562-9383).

13. C. Howard Hiester Canal Center. Part of the Berks County Heritage Center, it contains the largest private collection of 19th century canal memorabilia in America. It is located on a 4.5 mile section of the Union Canal towpath, now a bicycle and walking trail along Tulpehocken Creek between Reading and Blue Marsh Lake, that includes reconstructed Lock #47. The canal, which contained 93 locks in its 81 miles between Reading and Middletown, was in operation from 1828 to 1885. Center, open for tours May through October, is maintained by Berks County Parks and Recreation Department. (610-374-8839).

14. Union Canal Tunnel Park. 90-acre park, 25th and Union Canal Drive, Lebanon (near Rt. 72) that includes 2/3 mile of watered Union Canal and the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the U.S. When completed in 1828, it was 729 feet long. It was designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1970 and a National Historic Landmark in 1994. Maintained by Friends of the Union Canal Tunnel Park. (717-272-1473).

15. Susquehanna Riverlands. In Salem Township, 8 miles south of Wilkes-Barre on Rt. 11, one half mile river walking path, filled canal prism, nature park, and environmental center. Part of the North Branch Division of the PA Canal System, the division had 43 locks and followed the north branch of the Susquehanna River 169 miles from Northumberland to the NY state line. Park owned and managed by PA Power and Light Company. (570-542-2306).

16. Juniata Canal. 1.5 mile restored section of the Juniata Division of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, located at Locust Campground 3 miles west of Lewistown, near Rt. 22/522. The canal, which ran 127 miles between Hollidaysburg and Duncan's Island in the Susquehanna River, required 86 locks. It was in operation from 1832 to 1888. Visits and Canal Boat Rides by appointment. Fee charged. (717-248-3974). Locust Campground website, Click here! 

17. Hollidaysburg Canal Basin Park. Bedford Street off Rt. 22. Located at convergence of Juniata Canal and Allegheny Portage Railroad. Park is landscaped site of two canal basins and a connecting lock, part of the Allegheny Ridge State Heritage Park. Museum (fee charged) illustrates transfer of canal boats from canal to portage railroad. Excellent overlooks at nearby Chimney Rocks Park. Maintained by Borough of Hollidaysburg. (814-696-0544).

18. Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historical Site. Eleven miles west of Hollidaysburg, on US Rt. 22 at Gallitzin Exit. National Park Service Visitor Center, Lemon House, Engine House with Inclined Plane #6, and Skew Arch Bridge. First railroad to cross the Allegheny Mountains, it carried canal boats up five inclined planes to the summit and down five planes to Johnstown, forming a 36 mile major link in the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal System. Built between 1831 and 1834, it operated until 1857. Fee charged. Call for schedule. (814-886-6150).

19. Tunnelview Historical Site. Maintained by Indiana County Parks and accessible only from the Conemaugh Lake facility of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, this site makes it possible to see where in 1830, an 817 foot long tunnel, the third tunnel ever built in the U.S., was constructed on the Western Division canal through Bow Ridge, the narrow finger of land within a long riverbend on the Conemaugh River, 10 miles west of Blairsville. Three other tunnels were also eventually bored through Bow Ridge. Of these four, only the portals of two railroad tunnels, built in 1864 and 1907, may now be seen from the Tunnelview site. For more information phone either the Parks Department (724-463-8636) or the Corps of Engineers (724-459-7240)

20. Saltsburg Canal Park. Rts. 286 and 981. Attractive canal park on the Western Division of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal System, where the Loyalhanna Creek joins the Conemaugh River to from the Kiskimenetas River. The canal ran 105 miles between Johnstown and Pittsburgh and had 68 locks. It contributed significantly to the growth and development of the Saltsburg area, a leading U.S. salt producer during and after the canal's active years (1829-1863). Managed by the Borough of Saltsburg. (724-639-3781).

21. Shenango Canal Lock. Rt. 518 at Sharpsville. Well-preserved lift lock on the Shenango Line of the Erie Extension Canal. The canal, 136 miles long with 137 locks, was completed in 1844 and closed in 1871 after the Elk Creek Aqueduct collapsed. Lock maintained by Borough of Sharpsville. (412-781-0546).

22. Erie Extension Canal Museum. In Greenville, depicts the canal era and especially the history of the Erie Extension Canal from New Castle to the Port of Erie. Many canal artifacts and a full-sized replica of an original canal boat. Open summer weekend afternoons and by appointment. Small fee charged. (724-588-7540).

23. Monongahela Navigation System. Originally 16 dams with by-pass locks, and now only 12 lock-dam combinations, for slack water navigation on the Monongahela River south from Pittsburgh 131 miles to Kingmont, West Virginia, carrying primarily bituminous coal north to the Pittsburgh area. Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (412-395-7501).

24. Conestoga Canal Lock. In Conestoga River Park in Safe Harbor on the Susquehanna River, only remaining one of nine lock-dam combinations in 18 miles of Conestoga Creek Navigation from Lancaster to Safe Harbor. In operation from 1826 to 1865. Maintained by Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation. (717-872-0290).

25. Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal Lock #12. On Rt. 372 at the south end of the Norman Wood Bridge across the Susquehanna River. It was one of 28 lift locks, constructed between 1836 and 1839, over the 45 mile canal between Wrightsville, PA and Havre de Grace, MD. Site is owned and maintained by PA Power and Light Company. (717-284-6274).

26. Wayne County Historical Society and Museum. In Honesdale, at the eastern terminus of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's 16 mile gravity railroad, and the western end of its canal that crossed the Delaware at Laxawaxen, continued to Port Jervis, NY, and ended at Roundout, near Kingston, NY, on the Hudson River, for a total of 108 miles and 108 locks. It operated from 1828 to 1898. Museum is housed in what was originally the Canal Company's headquarters, and it contains the largest of any collection of D&H Canal memorabilia, including a replica of the "Stourbridge Lion," the first commercial steam locomotive in America, shipped from England in 1829 to be used on the gravity railroad; the Eclipse, an original passenger coach also used on the railroad; and a video of the Canal Company's history. Fee charged. Call for hours of operation. (570-253-3240).

27. Delaware and Hudson Canal Aqueduct. Off Rt. 590 at Lackawaxen. Oldest existing wire suspension bridge in western hemisphere, recently restored to replicate original 600-foot-long aqueduct built (by John Roebling in 1844) to carry canal boats over the Delaware River. Toll house visitor station at east end of bridge. Under National Park Service management. (717-685-4871).

28. Locks 6-9/ Pine Grove Feeder . Off Route 443, Lickdale, From South right on Old State Road, over Iron Bridge. Well Preserved remains of 4 Lift locks located in a beautiful and remote, yet accessible area on the Appalachian trail, right on the Swatara Creek. Referred to as  "Lost Locks", these locks were at the southern end of a Seven mile Reservoir which served as a water source and a portion of a Navigable feeder for the Union Canal. Built between 1825 and 1828 the Union canal ran between Reading and Middletown and was abandoned in 1885.The Feeder itself and these Locks  closed in 1862 after a monumental flood There are many other remains of Canal archaeology as well as fossil archaeology nearby, including; another Lock (#5) ,Canal boat basin and an actual ancient fossil bed! (717-608-4638) 

29. Penn Haven Planes Off the Upper Lehigh Canal/Old Central New Jersey RR "Rails to trails" section South of White Haven, reached from Quakake Creek access . Built by 2 competing railroads to provide flood resistant access to the Lehigh Valley and the Upper Lehigh Navigation. These planes were constructed to provide access to the Canal/Navigation from the Beaver Meadows Coal fields, south of Hazleton. There is quite a bit to see but access is not easy. Excellent side trip for a Bicycle trip down the old CNJ RR grade (a Rails to Trails site) from White Haven to Jim Thorpe  (717-608-4638) 

 

Pa. Canal Society C/O Emrick Technology Center 2750 Hugh Moore Park Rd. Easton, Pa 18042 administrator@pacanalsociety.org