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

The Tidal Lock

1832 - 1931

 
 
The Tidal Lock Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
1. The Tidal Lock Marker
Inscription.
“Coal boats consigned to Philadelphia and adjacent ports were assembled in the river outside the tide lock in rows of up to twenty-one boats, three abreast, to be taken down the river by steamboats. The departure of these tows was scheduled to take advantage of the ebb tide in going down the river and the flood tide upon the return trip.”
C.P. Yoder
Delaware Canal Journal

Timing is Everything
The Tide Lock was the first lock from the Delaware River into the Canal system. Unlike other Locks that accommodate changes in land elevation, this Lock accommodated variations in water elevations with the tide. Tide fluctuations in the Lock was 5.5 feet.

Canal schedules in Bristol revolved around the tide table as the Lock at this location made the most of the rise and fall of the River. At high tide, boats floated easily through the Lock and into the Canal for the trip upstream. When the Lock opened at low tide, water swept boats waiting in the Canal Basin into the River to continue their voyage downstream. With the inflow or outflow of tidal water, a strong current was available to propel the boats, so that mule power and a tow path may not have been necessary, depending on direction.

Today
The approximate location of the Canal is marked as blue
The Tidal Lock Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
2. The Tidal Lock Marker
On another side of the three-sided marker stand.
bollard markers
in the trees. Spring flowers are planted as ground cover between the markers. The markers note the edge of the water, and where the markers narrow in distance is the approximate location of the Tide Lock. The width of the Lock was 22' so it could handle two boats simultaneously. It was 100' long. Because this portion of the Canal was filled-in long ago, it is difficult to pinpoint the precise location of the Tide Lock.

The bullseye emblem displayed on boats represented the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company.
 
Erected by Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
 
Location. 40° 5.631′ N, 74° 51.481′ W. Marker is in Bristol, Pennsylvania, in Bucks County. Touch for map. Marker is located in Basin Park, near the confluence of Otter Creek and the Delaware River, about 500 feet WSW of the intersection of Mill and Radcliffe Streets. Marker is in this post office area: Bristol PA 19007, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Basin (here, next to this marker); Canal Office (here, next to this marker); The Ring (within shouting distance of this marker);
Canal Photo on Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
3. Canal Photo on Marker
[Caption reads] The end of the Canal.
Harriet Ross Tubman (within shouting distance of this marker); Replica of the Spanish Garitas (within shouting distance of this marker); Columbus 500 Celebration (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lock No. 2 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Abraham Lincoln (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bristol.
 
Also see . . .
1. Delaware Canal State Park Field Guide. (Submitted on May 29, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. History of Bristol Borough. (Submitted on May 29, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
River Photo on Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
4. River Photo on Marker
[Caption reads] Open river ahead.
Lock No. 1 Photo on Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
5. Lock No. 1 Photo on Marker
[Caption reads] Tolls were collected here and at New Hope and Mauch Chunk.
Canal Route Outlined by Blue Pylons image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
6. Canal Route Outlined by Blue Pylons
Canal Route Outlined by Blue Pylons image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2009
7. Canal Route Outlined by Blue Pylons
Looking NW.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 28, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 751 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 29, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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