“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Jordan in Onondaga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Canalway Trail:Elbridge/Lock 51

The Canalway Trail:Elbridge/Lock 51 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, July 26, 2020
1. The Canalway Trail:Elbridge/Lock 51 Marker
Welcome to the Canalway Trail System offering hundreds of miles of scenic trails and numerous parks for walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and other recreational activities. The Canalway Trail parallels the New York State Canal System, comprised of four historic waterways: the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. The Canal System spans 524 miles across New York State, linking the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, the Niagara River and Lake Erie.

Cooperative initiatives between the New York State Canal Corporation, volunteers, local governments, and federal and state agencies have created this great network of trails for public use.

Enjoying the Canalway Trail: Safety Tips
The Canalway Trail is intended to accommodate a variety of users. It is important to extend courtesy to all trail users and respect their rights. In order to avoid conflicts, trail protocol dictates that bicyclists should yield the right-of-way to all trail users and walkers should yield to equestrians. In addition, please observe the following tips for safe trail use.
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Stay to the right except when passing.
• Pass slower traffic on the left; yield to oncoming traffic when passing.
• Give a clear warning signal before passing.
• Keep pets on a short leash.
• As a courtesy to trail neighbors, refrain from loitering near homes.
• Do not litter, Carry out what you carry in.
• When stopped, move over to let others pass.
• Use extreme caution when wet or during snow/ice conditions.
Hours of Operation: The Trail is Open from Dawn to Dusk
To Report an Emergency call 911
For More Information about the Canalway Trail or the NYS Canal System
Please Call: 1-800-4 Canals 4 or Visit Us Online at:

Lock 51, The View From Here
Looking at it today, it's hard to imagine that less than a century ago Lock 51 was a busy thoroughfare with traffic jams, schedules to meet, and the sound of lock gates clanging shut. But until 1918, the year that the old Erie Canal closed, the view from here was a line of barges, excursion boats, and maintenance scows being towed by mule teams as they had been since the days of Clinton's Ditch in the 1820s.

As competition for freight intensified in the late 19th century, state engineers decided to build a new and much larger canal able to carry greater tonnage while utilizing rivers and bodies of water wherever possible.
The Canalway Trail:Elbridge/Lock 51 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel, July 26, 2020
2. The Canalway Trail:Elbridge/Lock 51 Marker
It was called the State Barge Canal, but as far as the village of Jordan and many other similar villages were concerned, it spelled economic disaster. The new route, located several miles north of town, left the old canal, and its canal dependent businesses high and dry.

Photo Caption: Looking west from Lock 51 (main image) as it appeared in 1910. Looking cast from Lock 51 (left) as it appeared in 1897.

Steamboat Express
Excursion boats worked the entire length of the Enlarged Erie Canal. They were the buses of their day and made cheap travel available to all. Their time however, was passing as railroads and then trolleys, automobiles, and buses offered alternate forms of more inexpensive rapid transit.

The steamer Walter McMullin, served as a shuttle between Jordan and Syracuse for many years. Its regular service followed a timetable, like today's bus service or subway-but perhaps more punctual. It carried mail, packaged goods, and people traveling up or down the canal. At Saul's Dock in Syracuse, passengers and freight would transfer to the next line if they wanted passage to Utica, Rome or Albany.

Photo Caption: The Melvin P. Browen, a steamer built in Baldwinville c. 1910.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels
The Canalway Trail:Elbridge/Lock 51 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Steve Stoessel
3. The Canalway Trail:Elbridge/Lock 51 Marker
. In addition, it is included in the Erie Canal series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1918.
Location. 43° 4.004′ N, 76° 29.704′ W. Marker is near Jordan, New York, in Onondaga County. Marker is on New York State Route 31, one mile west of North Main Street, on the left when traveling east. Marker is in the Jordan Lock 51 rest area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jordan NY 13080, 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. Jordan Lock 51 (within shouting distance of this marker); Town of Elbridge (approx. ¾ mile away); The H. Dodge House (approx. 1.1 miles away); Erie Canal (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Canalway Trail: Jordan/Jordan Aqueduct and Summit (approx. 1.1 miles away); Jordan (approx. 1.2 miles away); Sperry & Rockwell (approx. 1.2 miles away); Locktender’s House (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jordan.
Also see . . .
1. The Canalway Trails. (Submitted on July 29, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
2. Lock 51. (Submitted on July 29, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 28, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 85 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 28, 2020, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 3, 2023