Floating From Mine to Market
The Lehigh Canal
This transportation system allowed coal-laden boats to descend and empty ones to return using the 46.2 miles of canal from Mauch Chunk to Easton. It was wide enough for boats to pass each other, ending the “one way” trip. Consisting of slackwater pools, five guard locks (where the slackwater pools ended and the canal began), and 44 lift locks, this system became a bustling waterway transporting goods.
At its peak in 1855, mule-drawn boats towed more than 1 million tons of anthracite coal down the canalís 46.2 mile length. In the late nineteenth century, railways emerged as a faster and less expensive means of shipping.
The last “coal load” made its way south along the labled waterway in 1932. It stayed in partial operation until 1942, when severe flooding devastated the locks and washed away most of the towpath. For ten years it lay empty and neglected. In 1952, a team of area residents and contractors
“They say you canít, but I slept many a time walking.”
“A good pair of mules in 1912 was purchased for $520.00”
Clifford Best, Walnutport, Boat Captain, Lehigh Canal-Morning Call, Friday, June 16, 1901, Article “Friends of the River”
Erected by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
Location. 40° 45.171′ N, 75° 36.088′ W. Marker is in Walnutport, Pennsylvania, in Northampton County. Marker is on Lehigh Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Walnutport PA 18088, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lehigh River (a few steps from this marker); Lehigh Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); Anchor Hotel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Walnutport (about 600 feet away); Pennsylvania House Slate Exchange Hotel (about 600 feet away); Slate Industry (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lehigh Valley Railroad Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Kern Settlers (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Walnutport.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 16, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 179 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 16, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.