“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Pennsylvania Canal

Pennsylvania Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, March 30, 2008
1. Pennsylvania Canal Marker
Inscription.  The rise of Harrisburg's importance and distinction as one of the major transportation centers in the eastern United States was launched on March 14, 1827, by the laying of the cornerstone at the eastern end of Walnut Street downtown for the construction of Lock #6 of the Pennsylvania Canal. The completion of New York State's Erie Canal in 1824 prompted the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to explore the development of a transportation system to open up the interior of the state by linking Harrisburg with Pittsburgh. The completion of the Union Canal in 1827 from the Schuylkill River to Middletown had provided a means of travel in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. The Eastern Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, completed by 1831, however is what made Harrisburg the true dispatch point for the westward transport of goods and passengers through Pennsylvania's canal system, as Philadelphia by this time could be reached by rail via Columbia. Thus the groundwork was laid for the railroad routes that later evolved as tracks that first paralleled and later replaced the canal beds. The Eastern Division canal would follow the course of the Juniata River
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and move onward to the Allegheny Mountains, involving a series of aqueducts and portage railroads en route to Pittsburgh. While the canal system was relatively short-lived for passenger travel, with railroads entering upon the scene by the mid 19th Century, they remained primarily for the transport of freight until the system was entirely abandoned in 1901. Portions of the old canal bed are still visible along Industrial Road in northern Harrisburg adjacent to Wildwood Park.
Top Photo
Canal basin between State and North streets in 1895.
Middle Photo
Canal lock just south of State Street in 1900.
Bottom Photo
Late 1800's view of the steam-driven canal boat named "Montour" moving out of Harrisburg.

Erected by The Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania, The Harrisburg History Project, and the Union Canal series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1998.
Location. 40° 15.912′ N, 76° 52.763′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker is at the intersection of Walnut Street and N. Seventh Street
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, on the right when traveling east on Walnut Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harrisburg PA 17101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Harris Switch Tower (a few steps from this marker); U.S. Colored Troops Grand Review (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Pennsylvania Canal (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sylvan Heights Mansion (about 500 feet away); Soldiers Grove (about 700 feet away); Original Capitol Complex (about 800 feet away); Technical High School & Old City Hall (about 800 feet away); Trailblazers (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harrisburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on April 1, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,178 times since then and 31 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on April 1, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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May. 29, 2023