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

The Historic Rexford Aqueduct

A feature of the National Historic Landmark - New York State Canal System - The Erie Canal

 
 
The Historic Rexford Aqueduct Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel, January 7, 2019
1. The Historic Rexford Aqueduct Marker
Inscription.  In 1817, the Erie Canal was established under the management of the Erie Canal Commission. The canal was dug from Albany to Buffalo 4’ deep and 40’ wide with stone locks 15’x 90’. The locks were the limiting factor on boat size, and the efficiency of their operation dictated the allowable traffic flow. Soon, additional canals were dug from the Hudson River to Lake Champlain; from Montezuma to Cayuga and Seneca Lakes; and from Syracuse to Oswego. The canal system proved to be so successful that almost every community in the state lobbied for a link to the system, leading to network of canals created of the same basic dimensions.

In 1836, an enlargement program was started on the main Erie Canal system. The canal was straightened a bit, the channel was increased to 7’ x 70’, and the locks enlarged to 18’ x 110’. This permitted boats of much greater size on the Erie, Champlain, Cayuga-Seneca and Oswego canals.

In order for the canal to compete with the railroad a larger waterway was needed. Work began on a twentieth century canal of grand dimensions with cast concrete structures and electric controls. The Barge Canal System, utilizing

The Aqueduct Arches image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel, January 7, 2019
2. The Aqueduct Arches
canalized rivers and lakes and enlarged sections of the Erie Canal, opened in 1918. Operating today as The New York State Canal System, it continued to use several of the old routes, Champlain, Erie, Cayuga-Seneca and Oswego.

On January 11, 2017, the New York State Canal System was listed as a National Historic Landmark comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego, and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 450 miles, the waterways link the Atlantic Ocean to the Hudson River, Mohawk River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, Niagara River and Lake Erie. The system is owned and operated by the New York State Canal Coporation, a sub-agency if the New York Power Authority.

Just north of where you stand today, the first English settler, Edward Rexford, purchased 300 acres which became known as Rexford Flats. The first bridge at this location was built in 1804 by William Alexander. In 1825, the first aqueduct (The Upper Mohawk) was constructed west of the Historic Rexford Aqueduct.

The Historic Rexford Aqueduct was built in 1841-1842 as part of the Erie Canal to carry vessels over the Mohawk River. The center section was removed in 1914 for the Barge Canal. The center span was replaced by a small bridge to allow continued use of the towpath and new barge traffic in the canal.

When the Warren Truss Bridge was built in 1964,

The Southern Pair of Aqueduct Arches image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel, January 7, 2019
3. The Southern Pair of Aqueduct Arches
the majority of the aqueduct was dismantled, but three of the original fourteen arches were preserved in place to serve as historic reminders of this engineering masterpiece: one at the aqueduct’s north end, in Rexford, and two in Niskayuna at the south end.

In 1969, the Historic Rexford Aqueduct was documented in the Library of Congress as Historic American Engineering Record #12.

In 2017, a multi-girder four span bridge was built just west of the 1964 Warren Truss Bridge. Construction of the 2017 bridge was careful to avoid and protect the Historic Rexford Aqueduct and the remains of the Erie Canal. One northern pier of the 1964 truss bridge was left in place to shield the remains of the aqueduct from ice jams. The 2017 Bridge Replacement Project also incorporated a roundabout to relieve traffic congestion at the southern end of the bridge. A new multi-use path over the bridge provides pedestrian and cyclist connection from the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail in the Town of Niskayuna to the Town of Clifton Park.
 
Erected 2017 by New York State Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Erie Canal marker series.
 
Location. 42° 50.957′ N, 73° 53.296′ W. Marker

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is in Niskayuna, New York, in Schenectady County. Marker is on New York State Route 146, on the right when traveling north. Just north of the traffic circle on the sidewalk but before the bridge itself. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Schenectady NY 12309, 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. Aqueduct, 1842 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rexford House (approx. half a mile away); Rexford Cemetery (approx. half a mile away); Alplaus (approx. 0.7 miles away); Southard House (approx. one mile away); Yates Farm (approx. 1.2 miles away); Country Club Acres, 1957 (approx. 1.2 miles away); Stevens House 1693 (approx. 1½ miles away).
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsWaterways & Vessels
 

More. Search the internet for The Historic Rexford Aqueduct.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 16, 2019. This page originally submitted on January 7, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 70 times since then. Last updated on January 13, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 7, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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