“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Phillipsburg in Warren County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Morris Canal Greenway

Morris Canal Greenway Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 3, 2020
1. Morris Canal Greenway Marker
The Successful completion of New York's Erie Canal in 1825 demonstrated to the new nation that improved transportation infrastructure was the key to unlocking the country's great wealth of national resources. The discovery of anthracite coal in the region of northeastern Pennsylvania at the end of the 18th century, combined with the steady depletion of the forests in northern New Jersey, led entrepreneurs in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia to look to canals to supply the necessary fuel for the burgeoning Industrial Revolution. The Morris Canal was construction across New Jersey's mountainous highlands to supply coal to the industries and cities in the northern part of the state and New York and at the same time provide transportation for goods from these urban centers into rural areas. The Morris Canal Greenway in Warren County follows the route of this historic canal from Phillipsburg on the Delaware River, where it linked to the Lehigh and Delaware Canals, to the historic village of Waterloo at the county's eastern border. The Greenway preserves both the remains of the canal and its natural setting as an important part of county
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The Morris Canal 1824 - 1924
On its 100+ mile-long route from the Delaware River to the New York Harbor, the Morris Canal had to overcome a combined elevation change of 1,674 feet. To accomplish this, canal engineers had to construct a system of 23 locks and 23 inclined planes, achieving a world record and earning the Morris Canal the "Mountain Climbing Canal". To supply water for the canal, Lake Hapating was enlarged and used as a reservoir. Additional water supply was obtained by creating a Lake Massuatong, damming Greenwood Lake, and building a seven-mile-long feeder canal to attain the Paquannock and Wanaque River watersheds. In the 1840's, the canal was enlarged to 40-feet wide and 5 feet deep and the inefficient water wheels originally employed on its inclined plane were replaced with water-powered reaction turbines. Ninety-foot-long canal boats pulled by mule team, carrying up to 70 tons, crossed the state in just five days. The major cargoes were coal going east and iron ore going west. Along the way, boat basins at locks, inclined planes and oher locations provided convenient places for boatment to stop for repairs and support, as well as for goods to be loaded and unloaded. Small villages like Port Murray, Port Gilden, Honkpott and Port Warren developed at these locations with boatyards, warehouses, general stores and other necessary services.
Morris Canal Greenway Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 3, 2020
2. Morris Canal Greenway Marker
The 1860's were the canal's most prosperous years followed by a slow decline as faster, year-round, railroad services became available. In 1872 the canal was leased to the Lehigh Valley Railroad but continued to serve its customers until it was finally abandoned in 1924.

The Mountain Climbing Canal
The locks and inclined planes formed a staircase that enabled the canal to climb up and over the New Jersey Highlands. The diagram above shows the canal ascending one step at a time from Phillipsburg to the summit level at Lake Hopatcong. At each plane a boat was floated into a wheeled cradle car submerged in the canal. The boat and cradle car were then pulled up the plane using water power. To do the work, water from the canal level above was used to turn a huge reaction turbine located a third of the way down the plane. The turbine turned a cable drum that wound a heavy wrought iron cable that was attached to the cable car and pulled it up or down the plane.

Millpond Park
South Main Street Heritage Area
The area along South Main Street from Green's Bridge to Sawmill Street is rich in industrial history. Some remains can still be seen today.

Early mills took water from Lopatcong Creek to power their operations. When the Morris Canal opened in 1831, it was combined with the creek from near Green's Bridge to Sawmill
Morris Canal Greenway Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 3, 2020
3. Morris Canal Greenway Marker
Street. The overflow was impounded in a mill pond.

The Shimer gristmill complex was later converted to a soapstone mill fed by a raceway from the Morris Canal. The discharge water went into the mill pond and was used to power other mills downstream. The present sewer plant is located on or near the site of the soapstone quarry.

After the canal was abandoned in 1924, flooding of Lopatcong Creek removed most of the remains of the canal. The grassy area of the fill between South Main Street and Lopatcong creek covers the archaeological remains of the mill complex, the mill pond and the present sewer line.

In 1806 the New Brunswick Turnpike operated along what is today South Main Street. A trolley line used this route to take passengers east to and from Phillipsburg. Today the Morris Canal Trail follows the original path of the canal.
Erected by Morris Canal Greenway.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsRoads & VehiclesWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Morris Canal series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1825.
Location. 40° 40.699′ N, 75° 10.386′ W. Marker is in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, in Warren County. Marker
Morris Canal Greenway Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 3, 2020
4. Morris Canal Greenway Marker
is on South Main Street (New Jersey Route 122) 0.1 miles north of Kent Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 900 S Main St, Phillipsburg NJ 08865, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. James Campbell (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Early Industry (approx. 0.2 miles away); Morris Canal Bridge No. 2 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Morris Canal - Lock 10 West (approx. 0.2 miles away); Vietnam Memorial (approx. ¾ mile away); William Henry Walters (approx. 0.8 miles away); Korean War Memorial (approx. 1.1 miles away); Veterans Memorial (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Phillipsburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 4, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 135 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 4, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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May. 30, 2023