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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lebanon in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania

 
 
Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 31, 2015
1. Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania Marker
Inscription. Proposed by William Penn in 1690 to tap the agricultural wealth of the Commonwealth and give access to a second settlement on the Susquehanna River, the Canal was the first ever surveyed in the United States. This was done by David Rittenhouse and William Smith in 1762 and 1770.

First charted as the Schuylkill and Susquehanna Canal Co., work was begun in 1792 under the direction of William Weston, an English Engineer. Several miles of the Canal were dug and 5 locks were built between Myerstown and Lebanon before financial difficulties caused the work to cease. It was this area that President George Washington visited in 1793.

The State Legislature granted permission to raise $400,000 by lottery in 1795. In two decades and fifty drawings, $33 million was awarded in prize money; but only $270,000 reached the coffers of the Canal Company. This was the largest canal lottery in the nation’s history.

Reorganized in 1811 as the Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania with Samuel Mifflin as President, work began in 1821 and the Canal was completed for the opening in 1828. A branch canal was finished in 1832, reaching from the Water Works north to Pine Grove to tap the coal fields and supply much needed water for the Summit Level. The Canal required an elaborate pumping system to keep the Summit Level from going dry. Canvass White, of

Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 31, 2015
2. Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania Marker
Erie Canal fame, was the chief engine with Simeon Guilford as his assistant. The cost was in excess of six million dollars.

The 102 locks of the Canal were built too small (8 ½’ x 75’) and could not accommodate the larger boats from the Pennsylvania Canal and the Schuylkill Canal. Enlargement took place in the 1850’s increasing lock size to 17’x90’. A flood in June of 1862 devastated the Canal from Pine Grove to Middletown. Costly repairs, continual water problems, and the completion of the Lebanon Valley Railroad in 1857 from Reading to Harrisburg reduced the revenues and caused the closing of the Union Canal in 1885.
 
Erected 1988 by Lebanon County Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Union Canal marker series.
 
Location. 40° 20.894′ N, 76° 27.386′ W. Marker is in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in Lebanon County. Marker is on Tunnel Hill Road (Pennsylvania Route 4001). Click for map. The marker is located on the grounds of the Union Canal Tunnel Park. Marker is in this post office area: Lebanon PA 17046, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Union Canal Tunnel (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Union Canal Tunnel

Union Canal image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 31, 2015
3. Union Canal
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Courthouse Lampposts and Courthouse Bell (approx. 2 miles away); Lebanon County (approx. 2 miles away); Union Canal (approx. 3.6 miles away); Cornwall Iron Furnace (approx. 4.7 miles away); John Walter (approx. 5.8 miles away); Cornwall Furnace (approx. 5.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lebanon.
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Sign in Union Canal Tunnel Park image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, May 31, 2015
4. Sign in Union Canal Tunnel Park
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 173 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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