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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Phillipsport in Sullivan County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Demise of the Canal

Delaware & Hudson Canal

 
 
Demise of the Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 29, 2019
1. Demise of the Canal Marker
Inscription.  After its heyday in the late 1850's to 1870's, the canal gradually lost business to the faster, more efficient railroads, which could ship coal in the dead of winter and the dark of night. This loss of business resulted in layoffs of boats, fewer trips, and harder times for boatmen and for businesses along the canal. In 1890 there were 800 coal boats operating; by 1898 only 387 were making trips. On November 5 of that year, the last boat to haul coal made the full trip from Honesdale to Rondout. This was not a surprise to most people. Beginning in 1881, company managers had been announcing that the demise of the canal was imminent. Fewer boats traveled the canal every year and the boatmen and their mules were looking increasingly ragged.

In 1899 the company drained most of the canal, opening all the weirs and locks and letting the water pour out from Ellenville to Honesdale. The waterway continued to do business on its lower 35-mile stretch, shipping Rosendale cement and other local products to the Hudson until about 1920, when this section too was closed.

The demise of the canal was a serious blow to most of the waterside
Marker detail: The Last Boat image. Click for full size.
Collection of the Minisink Valley Historical Society
2. Marker detail: The Last Boat
On November 5, 1898, the last boat, No. 1107, left Honesdale for a final complete run of the canal before it stopped full operation.
towns. Businesses failed, industries languished, and some-once-populous areas became virtual ghost towns. This sad state of affairs was reversed within the next few decades as the railroads became prominent and brought settlers, tourists, and businesses to the area.

In some places the canal was converted into a road or filled in; in others, it became an empty ditch. For many decades it lay forgotten. However, in recent years, Sullivan, Orange, and Ulster counties in New York and Pike and Wayne Counties in Pennsylvania have preserved canal history in museums, historical societies, research libraries, and recreational trails. Today these counties and some towns are developing and maintaining recreational trails along the canal in an effort to link the D&H Canal.

In 1969, Sullivan County, recognizing the historical and recreational significance of the canal, purchased four acres of waterway and towpath and four locks. In 1986, Orange and Rockland Utilities donated more than forty-three acres for recreational development; and in 1990, Sullivan County opened a five-mile linear park in the town of Mamakating.

To date, the county has received over one million dollars in grants and has acquired eighty-three acres of parkland, five locks, and a dry dock. There are five miles of hiking trail on former canal towpath, interpretive sign displays, parking areas/trail
Marker detail: The D&H Canal, totally abandoned and given over to weeds, early 20th century photo image. Click for full size.
Collection of the Minisink Valley Historical Society
3. Marker detail: The D&H Canal, totally abandoned and given over to weeds, early 20th century photo
heads, comfort stations, and picnic areas.
 
Erected by Delaware & Hudson Canal Linear Park.
 
Location. 41° 38.019′ N, 74° 27.106′ W. Marker is near Phillipsport, New York, in Sullivan County. Marker can be reached from Bova Road 0.1 miles west of U.S. 209, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located along the canal trail at the Bova Road Interpretive Center of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Linear Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Phillipsport NY 12769, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ending at Rondout (a few steps from this marker); Lock No. 50 (within shouting distance of this marker); Canal Basin & Sluiceway (within shouting distance of this marker); Dry Docks (within shouting distance of this marker); Locks (within shouting distance of this marker); Waste Weirs (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Life on the Canal (about 400 feet away); Boothroyd House (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Phillipsport.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Delaware & Hudson Canal
 
Also see . . .
1. Delaware & Hudson Canal (National Park Service). Throughout the 19th century the D&H Canal expanded, struggled and transformed
Demise of the Canal Marker (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 29, 2019
4. Demise of the Canal Marker (wide view)
to become part of a 171-mile transportation system. In the latter part of the 1800s, railroads grew while canals declined. Transportation by canal was limited by winter weather conditions, droughts and floods. Railroads were better able to reach new markets. The D&H Canal was abandoned in 1898. Today, little survives of the D & H Canal and its associated industries. However, remnants of the canal may be seen along its former route. Where these features are preserved and protected, you may glimpse into the life of a by-gone era. (Submitted on November 23, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Delaware & Hudson Canal Linear Park and Interpretive Center. This linear park consists of 45 acres and approximately 3½ miles of trail situated along the historic D&H Canal. Remains of the original locks, drydock & waste weirs are visible from the towpath trail. Interpretive signs are located in the park to assist the visitor identify the various canal structures. (Submitted on November 23, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesParks & Recreational AreasWaterways & Vessels
 

More. Search the internet for Demise of the Canal.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 23, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 21, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 42 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on November 21, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4. submitted on November 23, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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