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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tonawanda in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Dam

 
 
The Dam Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, September 13, 2014
1. The Dam Marker
Inscription.
An Overview
In the spring of 1823, work on the Erie Canal at this end of the state began with the building of a dam. Its purpose was to raise the water level of Tonawanda Creek 4 to 4 1/2 feet so that its ten-mile stretch between Pendleton and Tonawanda could become part of the canal without having to dig. Then, digging was resumed at the point where the canal veered from the dam to travel westward through the village of Tonawanda and along the Niagara River to Buffalo. If you turn and look directly behind you through the two columns, you will see the route taken by the Erie Canal through downtown Tonawanda.

Looking across the Dam to North Tonawanda, circa 1910.

Runaway Canal Boat, March 1916. A runaway canal boat, carried over the dam by spring flood waters and melting snow, smashed into the abutments of the creek here. The railroad bridge at the left of this photo was unharmed, but the "long bridge" on the other side of it sustained damage.

Viewed from North Tonawanda, a canal bridge spans Ellicott Creek from Gastown to downtown Tonawanda. The building with the Discovery tobacco advertisement on its side is a blacksmith shop on Young Street.

No More Dam: the Arrival of the New Barge Canal
In 1918, the dam was no more and the Tonawandas were the terminus of the new

The Dam Marker - Detail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, September 13, 2014
2. The Dam Marker - Detail
N.Y.S. Barge Canal. In the photo to the left, the old canal veers left to flow westward through downtown Tonawanda where over the next decade it would become a sort of local dump to be filled in with trash and refuse.

Above, in this aerial photo, the process of filling in the old Erie has begun.

No more towpath. No more animals. No more manure. The magnificent Erie passes into history.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Erie Canal marker series.
 
Location. 43° 1.268′ N, 78° 52.669′ W. Marker is in Tonawanda, New York, in Erie County. Marker is at the intersection of Young Street and Main Street, on the right on Young Street. Click for map. Marker is in an area called Tonawandas Gateway Harbor Overlook Plaza. Marker is in this post office area: Tonawanda NY 14150, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lumber Capital (here, next to this marker); Gateway to the West (a few steps from this marker); The Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); Roll of Honor (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Roll of Honor (within shouting distance of this
The Dam Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, September 13, 2014
3. The Dam Marker
Eastward on the Erie (Barge) Canal/Tonawanda Creek. The next bridge is Delaware Avenue (NY 384).
marker); Lumber Port (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Long Homestead (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Long Homestead (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Tonawanda.
 
Regarding The Dam. The I-190 was built upon the abandoned Erie Canal from Tonawanda to Buffalo along the Niagara River.
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
The Dam Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, September 13, 2014
4. The Dam Marker
Reverse view (westward). The two columns at the left are mentioned in the text of the marker as the view of where the old Erie Canal left Tonawanda Creek; the Old Erie Canal is now Niagara Street. The back of the marker is at the black rail along the flower bed at right. The bridge at right is Main Street over Tonawanda Creek and the present Erie (Barge) Canal.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 180 times since then and 14 times this year. Last updated on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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