1831 - 1932
"Besides, I want to tell you there were pretty good times and many a heart broken and rough life on the canal."
Flora Henry, Locktender
Shouts of "Gid-Up" echo along the canal. Pairs of mules strain at their harnesses to get the canal boat moving. The sound of conch shell horns alert locktenders to approaching boats. It is 4 AM, still dark, yet the work day has already begun along the Delaware Canal.
The 60-mile-long canal was built to reliably transport anthracite coal from the mines of northeastern Pennsylvania to cities along the eastern seaboard. Opened in 1831, the canal had twenty-four locks (water elevators) that raised or lowered boats on their journeys between Easton and Bristol.
The canal shaped communities. Canal boat captains, muletenders, and locktenders made their living on the waterway. Neighboring businesses provided the goods and services canal workers needed while traffic on the canal fueled local enterprise.
Powerful speeding trains left canals behind. In 1932, the last coal-laden boat completed its trip on the Delaware Canal. This historic
[Photo caption reads]
An empty boat, riding high in the water, heads north for payday and another load of coal. It is passing a heavy coal-laden boat heading south to market.
[Diagram caption reads]
This side view of the Delaware Canal shows the locks that were used to raise and lower boats along the 165-foot elevation change between Easton and Bristol.
Erected by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Friends of the Delaware Canal, and the PA DCNR.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Man-Made Features • Parks & Recreational Areas • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Delaware Canal (AKA Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania Canal) series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1831.
Location. 40° 7.071′ N, 74° 50.61′ W. Marker is in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County. Marker is on Green Lane south of Bristol Pike (U.S. 13), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 498 Green Lane, Bristol PA 19007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Life Along the Canal (approx. one mile away); Pvt. Michael Dougherty (approx. one mile away);
Also see . . .
1. Delaware Canal. (Submitted on March 25, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Delaware Canal State Park PA. (Submitted on March 25, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Friends of the Delaware Canal. (Submitted on March 25, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. Pennsylvania Canal, Delaware Division (HAER No. PA-103). (Submitted on March 25, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
5. Anthracite. (Submitted on March 25, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 24, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 25, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 136 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 25, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.