Bristol in Bucks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Tidal Lock
1832 - 1931
“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.”
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.
The approximate location of the Canal is marked as blue
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); 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. ¼ mile 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 & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Waterways & Vessels •
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 788 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 29, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.