It's a Short Commute
1829 - 1942
"The boatsmen had a hard life. But the locktenders did too, because they couldn't go nowhere. They had to be on the job all the time."
It is early morning and still dark. Nestled in bed, six sleeping children nearby, the family did not notice the boats gathering outside their door. The alarm clock is a loud horn blowing outside the lockhouse window. The canalers waited while you slept, taking a well-earned nap. But it is now 4:00 a.m., time to begin another day.
With efficiency born of repetition, the rhythm of a choreographed dance, the locktender or family member opens and closes gates eighteen hours a day, early spring through late fall. Sundays off are wonderful, but those six hour nights are just too short.
The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company provides the house year round and a pay check during operational months. Making ends meet sometimes requires creativity. The older child may tend the lock while Dad works another job. Mom takes in laundry, trading fresh vegetables and baked goods for coal. Sometimes the peaceful
The locktender operated the lock gates by turning gears located in a "dog house".
Friends of the Delaware Canal restored this lock house in New Hope. It is open for visitation on a regular schedule.
A canal boat ride and visit to a lockhouse invite you into the past in Easton's Hugh Moore Park.
Walnutport residents restored their lockhouse to its former glory. Volunteers open it whenever possible.
Erected by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Bethlehem City and Township, and Carbon County.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 40° 36.977′ N, 75° 22.847′ W. Marker is in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in Northampton County. Marker is on D&L Trail / Sand Island Trail, 0.1 miles east of Main Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bethlehem PA 18018, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Coal for Cabbage (here, next to this marker); A Water-Powered Elevator (within shouting distance of this marker); From Mountain to Market (within shouting distance of this marker); The Canaler's Life (about 600 feet away, measured in a
Credits. This page was last revised on October 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 49 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.