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Chittenango in Madison County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Dry Docks: Canal Service Centers

 
 
Dry Docks: Canal Service Centers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 18, 2019
1. Dry Docks: Canal Service Centers Marker
Inscription.  When a canal boat needed repairs, the captain went to the nearest dry dock. A dry dock was a basin or bay that could be flooded to get a boat in, and then drained so that the boat could be repaired. Along the canal, at least 44 different dry docks operated over a 100 year period.

Today Chittenango is home to the only recovered and reconstructed three bay dry dock on the Erie Canal. After it was rediscovered, volunteers began digging in the summer of 1987. They used old maps and photographs to guide them as they dug out the dry dock bays and looked for building foundations.

Bay Depths
Each of the three bays had a different depth. This allowed for empty, partially loaded, and loaded boats to be repaired. When the bays were filled, the water depths were 6, 7 and 8 feet, respectively.

Sluiceway
A narrow channel, behind the gates, carried water out of the dry dock bays. Most docks were located on the edge of streams or slopes where water could easily drain, but Chittenango's dry dock complex was built on level ground. To drain the bays, the owners dug a ditch a quarter mile to Chittenango Creek.

Drop
Marker detail: Gordon D’Angelo cleaning out shallow bay image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum
2. Marker detail: Gordon D’Angelo cleaning out shallow bay
Gates

These gates could be operated by one person, using a hand crank mechanism, which was located on top of the bay walls. The gate pivoted at the bottom and fell towards the canal, similar to castle moat gates.

Miter Gates
Operated by two people on either side, these gates formed a "V" shape with the point facing out towards the canal. When closed, water from the canal pushed on the gates, creating a tight seal.
 
Erected by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
 
Location. 43° 3.642′ N, 75° 52.328′ W. Marker is in Chittenango, New York, in Madison County. Marker can be reached from Towpath Road just west of Lakeport Road, on the left when traveling west. Marker is located along the Erie Canalway Trail (Old Erie Canal State Park), overlooking Pool's Brook, (old Erie Canal), and the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 717 Lakeport Road, Chittenango NY 13037, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Feeding the Canal (a few steps from this marker); A Busy, Bustling Boatyard (within shouting distance of this marker); A Cannery at the Crosswaters (within shouting distance of this marker); Lamplighters Cart (approx.
Dry Docks: Canal Service Centers Marker • <i>wide view<br>(former dry dock site in background)</i> image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 18, 2019
3. Dry Docks: Canal Service Centers Marker • wide view
(former dry dock site in background)
1.2 miles away); Lateral Canal (approx. 1.2 miles away); Canaseraga (approx. 1½ miles away); The Erie Canal (approx. 2.9 miles away); Pool's Brook (approx. 3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chittenango.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Chittenango Landing
 
Also see . . .  Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. The main feature of the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum is an excavated three-bay drydock, with reconstructed miter and drop gates. Other features include excavated canal boat remains, model canal boats, a sunken canal boat which can be viewed when the water is clear, reconstructed woodworking and blacksmith shops and a sawmill. (Submitted on January 11, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Canal Boat Exhibit (<i>view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 18, 2019
4. Canal Boat Exhibit (view from near marker)
 

More. Search the internet for Dry Docks: Canal Service Centers.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 11, 2020. This page originally submitted on January 10, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on January 11, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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