Whitehall in Washington County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Traveling Along the Canal
The completion of the Champlain Canal in 1823 transformed Whitehall from a minor port at the head of Lake Champlain into a bustling transshipment point for goods destined for Troy, Albany, New York City, Buffalo and the West. Lumberyards, icehouses and shipyards soon stretched along the waterfront from the lock to “Fiddler’s Elbow,” a tight turn in Wood Creek half a mile from the village. Hotels, taverns and shops served the parade of travelers. Stables and mule barns provided winter quarters for hundreds of animals. Canal families came to call Whitehall home and their boats filled up the harbor when ice brought navigation to a stop.
Cargo sloops and schooners packed the wharves waiting to transfer their loads of lumber, iron ore and marble to canal boats small enough to fit through the locks. Soon ingenious shipbuilders designed a sailing canal boat that could rise its centerboard, lower its masts, hitch a towline to a mule and move directly into the canal. Owners of sailing canal boats saved 4-5 days of waiting at the wharves on each trip.
Passengers traveled by packet boat, towed up the lake by steamboats, then
To learn more about the canal and Whitehall history, follow the towpath to the right, past the stone walls of the original canal, to the Whitehall Urban Cultural Park Visitors Center.
Location. 43° 33.353′ N, 73° 24.104′ W. Marker is in Whitehall, New York, in Washington County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Division Street, on the right when traveling north on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Whitehall NY 12887, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. World War Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Birthplace of the United States Navy (about 400 feet away); Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away); Whitehall Harbor (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Birthplace of the United States Navy (about 800 feet away); Skenesborough Museum (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lakes to Locks Passage (approx. 0.2 miles away); Whitehall (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Whitehall.
More about this marker. A map of the Lake Champlain Historic Landing Heritage Trail appears on the left side of the marker. The background of the marker features a picture of the view south at Whitehall Harbor in 1819, four years prior to the completion of the Champlain Canal. Three pictures are at the top right of the marker. The first depicts “Whitehall Harbor in 1823, the year the canal was completed to Waterford.” The next is a more modern photograph and includes a caption of “During the 19th century, sailing vessels and canal boats brought lumber from Canada to be planed in the mills of Whitehall Harbor and shipped south. Pulp wood was also a large cargo.” The final picture has a caption of “Before the arrival of the railroad during the mid-19th century, passengers enjoyed travel between Whitehall and the Hudson River on horse-drawn packet boats.”
Categories. • Waterways & Vessels •
More. Search the internet for Traveling Along the Canal.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 21, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 171 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 21, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.