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Boonton in Morris County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Morris Canal Plane 7 East

 
 
Morris Canal Plane 7 East Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 20, 2015
1. Morris Canal Plane 7 East Marker
Inscription.
Near this location, over 100 years ago, canal boats heavily laden with Pennsylvania coal were approaching the summit of Morris Canal Plane 7 East.

Much like a canal “lock”, an inclined plane is a simple machine which allows boats navigating a canal to overcome changes in elevation. Whereas canal locks typically overcome elevation changes of 10-12 feet, an inclined plane allows much greater elevation changes. Plane 7 East had an 80 foot “lift.”
Upon reaching the plane, canal boats entered a semi-submerged “cradle car” in the basin approximately behind 1004 Main Street (still extant and visible today.) The boats, firmly nestled in the cradle car, would then descend the plane until reaching the lower basin, near the present-day church at the bottom of Plane Street. At the foot of the plane, the cradle car carrying the boat would descend into the waters of the lower basin, and the canal boat would re-float and continue its journey to the eastern canal terminus in Jersey City. Boats returning from Jersey City would enter the submerged cradle car in the lower basin and would be drawn up the inclined plane by a cable wound around a drum in the powerhouse, which was located close to where you are standing today. Inside the powerhouse, falling water from the canalís upper elevation was
Detail Photo on the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 20, 2015
2. Detail Photo on the Marker
Canal boat loaded on cradle car descending Plane 7 East. Note waterline on boat and cradle car.
used to power a scotch turbine which turned the cable drum. The entire plane mechanism was considered an engineering marvel of its time.

The Morris Canal was gradually rendered obsolete by the advent of the steam locomotive and competition from the expanding rail network. By the early 1900ís, canal traffic had drastically declined and by 1929 the canal was almost entirely deconstructed. Today, there are few visible remains of the Morris Canal throughout the state. In Boonton, the Plane Street parking lot now covers the upper end of Plane 7 East, and the lower end of the plane has been obliterated by construction and subsequent modification of the landscape. The only remains of the canal in Boonton are a restored and watered section adjacent to North Main Street.

The Morris Canal and Boonton Besides its primary role in transporting goods across New Jersey, the canal also served as an important of water power for early industry in the state. The Morris Canal Company, ever in search of new sources of revenue, leased rights to use its water to many mills and ironworks located adjacent to the canal. The New Jersey Iron Company Ironworks, once located in the river hollow below you, was one such lessee.

Water from the canal was diverted from the upper basin at the head of the canal plane into the ironworks complex. Once inside, the water turned
Detail Photo on the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 20, 2015
3. Detail Photo on the Marker
Cradle car partially submerged awaiting boat at top of plane.
a massive water wheel which in turn, worked a set of bellows that compressed the air used to operate the blast furnaces. The water then continued on and was used to operate 3 more water wheels within the complex which powered the upper nail factory, the rolling mill, and the sawmill, having fallen a total of 80 feet from the head of the plane, and its work now complete, the water was returned to the canal near the basin at the foot of the plane (near the bottom of modern day Plane Street.)

Over time, the canal became less important to the operation and supply of the iron works. Steam engines replaced the water wheels, and in 1867 a rail spur (still visible today) was extended into the ironworks complex which delivered coal to the great furnaces quicker and more economically than the canal could.
 
Location. 40° 54.326′ N, 74° 24.759′ W. Marker is in Boonton, New Jersey, in Morris County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (County Route 624) and Plane Street, on the left when traveling west on Main Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boonton NJ 07005, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Holmes Library (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Boonton Civil War Monument (about 600 feet away);
Detail Photo on the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 20, 2015
4. Detail Photo on the Marker
Basin at the foot of the plane. Boonton Ironworks to the left. This area appears completely different today.
Garret Rickards House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dr. John Taylor House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Andrew M. Emery Memorial Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); Boonton Historic District (approx. 0.3 miles away); Boonton Railroad Station (approx. 0.4 miles away); Boonton Fire Department 100th Anniversary (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Boonton.
 
Regarding Morris Canal Plane 7 East. The Morris Canal was built over 6 years starting in 1825. Over its meandering 102 miles, ther were 23 locks, 23 inclined planes and 2 large aqueducts. Canal boats were raised 760 feet from Phillipsburg on the Delaware River to the summit near Lake Hopatcong and lowered 914 feet to Jersey City on the Hudson River.Two mules would take 5 days to tow a boat on a one way trip. The canal was 32 feet wide and 4 feet deep. Water was supplied mainly from Lake Hopatcong. The canal was drained 1924.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Canal Society of New Jersey. (Submitted on September 24, 2015, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
2. Morris Canal on Wikipedia
Detail Photo on the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 20, 2015
5. Detail Photo on the Marker
Empty cradle car near the top of the plane. The rails for the car enter the water of the upper basin.
. (Submitted on September 24, 2015, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
3. Map of the Morris Canal. (Submitted on September 24, 2015, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Detail Photo on the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 20, 2015
6. Detail Photo on the Marker
Map of the New Jersey Iron Company Ironworks complex. The marker is near the top right corner of the map.
Morris Canal Plane 7 East Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 20, 2015
7. Morris Canal Plane 7 East Marker
Morris Canal Plane 7 East Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Herrick, September 20, 2015
8. Morris Canal Plane 7 East Marker
The woods behind the marker hide any remnants of the canalís lower basin and the ruins of the ironworks.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page has been viewed 147 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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