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

Floating From Mine to Market

The Lehigh Canal


ó1829-1942 ó

Floating From Mine to Market Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 6, 2015
1. Floating From Mine to Market Marker
Inscription. The Lehigh Navigation, built by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, was used to transport anthracite coal from mines in north eastern Pennsylvania to New York, Easton, Philadelphia, and beyond. Workers dug much of the canal by hand, constructing a series of 49 locks to compensate for the 353-foot drop in elevation. Operation of the canal from Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe) to Easton began in 1839.

This transportation system allowed coal-laden boats to descend and empty ones to return using the 46.2 miles of canal from Mauch Chunk to Easton. It was wide enough for boats to pass each other, ending the “one way” trip. Consisting of slackwater pools, five guard locks (where the slackwater pools ended and the canal began), and 44 lift locks, this system became a bustling waterway transporting goods.

At its peak in 1855, mule-drawn boats towed more than 1 million tons of anthracite coal down the canalís 46.2 mile length. In the late nineteenth century, railways emerged as a faster and less expensive means of shipping.

The last “coal load” made its way south along the labled waterway in 1932. It stayed in partial operation until 1942, when severe flooding devastated the locks and washed away most of the towpath. For ten years it lay empty and neglected. In 1952, a team of area residents and contractors

Floating From Mine to Market Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 6, 2015
2. Floating From Mine to Market Marker
undertook the restoration of a 3.5 mile section in Walnutport. Although it is no longer used to transport coal, this historic transportation system shaped the character of the communities along its banks. It is now preserved as part of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“They say you canít, but I slept many a time walking.”
“A good pair of mules in 1912 was purchased for $520.00”

Clifford Best, Walnutport, Boat Captain, Lehigh Canal-Morning Call, Friday, June 16, 1901, Article “Friends of the River”
Erected by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
Location. 40° 45.171′ N, 75° 36.088′ W. Marker is in Walnutport, Pennsylvania, in Northampton County. Marker is on Lehigh Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Walnutport PA 18088, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lehigh River (a few steps from this marker); Lehigh Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); Anchor Hotel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Walnutport (about 600 feet away); Pennsylvania House Slate Exchange Hotel (about 600 feet away); Slate Industry (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lehigh Valley Railroad Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Kern Settlers (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Walnutport.
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels

Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 109 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. 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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