1911 - 1912

Most of the present-day southern Wayne County canal bridges and locks were built, or their planning and construction done, during the first two decades of the 20th century, when the state modernized the canal system. Monthly reports of the Barge Canal contruction progress were issued by the State Engineer, summarizing work completed the previous month. Below are the excerpts describing work along the old Erie Canal from north-eastern Seneca County (Contract No. 46) through Wayne County to the Monroe County line during the winter of 1911-1912.

There is strong local interest in the Erie Canal section of the Barge Canal system, both historically and due to current efforts to revitalize the system to promote tourism within the state and the Finger Lakes Region. Locally, the Barge Canal public works project brought many workers to Wayne County, some who stayed in the area. The names of the contracting companies, who would have hired the laborers, are given in case there may be surviving records. We suggest that your personal research on the Barge Canal start at the New York State Archives in Albany, NY.

From: Barge Canal Bulletin, February 1912, Series V, No. 2. Department of The State Engineer and Surveyor of the State of New York. Issued monthly by the Bureau of Publication and Reports, Department of the State Engineer and Surveyor.

Brief Account of Contract Work for January

"The following pages show what has been done during the month on the several contracts now in force on the Barge canal. The Erie canal contracts are described in order from Waterford west to Buffalo, and the Champlain and Oswego canal contracts follow, in order from south to north, while the Cayuga and Seneca canal contracts are given from east to west."

At Weedsport bridge the ferry was operated until January 11, when it was abandoned and traffic was directed across the ice. The work of shoring up the bridge was completed and at noon on January 18 traffic was resumed over the bridge.

Contract No. 46.- For construction of the canal from Fox Ridge to the southeast corner of the town of Galen, including Lock No. 25, a movable dam at May's Point, bridges, etc.

The hydraulic dredge excavated 9,219 cu. yds. from prism until January 6, when ice compelled it to close down. Repairs are being made to plant.

[Contractor - Kinser Construction Company]

Contract No. 47.- For the construction of the canal from the southeast corner of the town of Galen to a point near the N.Y.C. & H.R. railway crossing at Lyons, including Lock No. 26, a dam across the Clyde river, highway bridge, stream entrance, etc.

Plant has been overhauled and removed and a coffer-dam built at the site of the river dam. Miter-sills and needles were shaped and the steel work on lock gates is about 40 per cent completed. About 71,497 lbs. of steel were used.

[Contractor - Crowell-Sherman-Stalter Company]

Contract No. 48.- For the construction of the canal from a point near the N.Y.C. & H.R. railway crossing at Lyons to a point near the West Shore railway crossing at East Newark, including Locks Nos. 27 and 28-A, dam and power-house, retention dam across Canandaigua outlet, spillway, culverts, highway, bridge, approaches, etc.

The dredge Lyons, working slowly owing to extreme cold weather and hard material, removed 50,774 cu. yds. from prism. Installation of machinery on dipper-dredge Erie continued.

At Geneva St. excavation for retaining wall and placing concrete proceeded slowly. About 272 cu. yds. of concrete were placed. Plant was erected for abutments and foundation of old pier removed. At the lower approach wall of Lock No. 27 a small quantity of steel sheet-piling was driven. In the upper approach wall of Lock No. 28-A, 165 cu. yds. of concrete were placed, completing the wall. In prism west of the Poorhouse bridge the Browning crane took out 7.889 cu. yds. of material, about 3,000 cu. yds. of which were placed in embankment and the remainder spoiled. Quantities: Excavation, 59,641 cu. yds.; embankment, 3,000 cu. yds.; concrete, 428 cu. yds.

[Contractor - Crowell-Sherman-Stalter Company]

Contract No. 76.- For the construction of the canal from a point near the West Shore railway crossing at East Newark to a point about one-half mile east of Port Gibson.

Shovel No. 20, at the west end of the contract, removed 56,300 cu. yds. of material from the prism. Shovel No. 21, near by, took out 48,100 cu. yds. Rock was blasted ahead of the shovels.

[Contractor - The T.A. Gillespie Company]

Contract No. 77.- For constructing the canal from one-half mile east of Port Gibson to one-half mile west of Palmyra, including Lock No. 29, power-plant, bridges, culverts, etc.

The dredge Palmyra removed 8,264 cu. yds. of material from the prism, closed down about January 10 and is being overhauled for spring work. Under the embankment at the east end of the contract about 195,956 ft. B.M. of additional sheet-piling were driven. At the big cut, shovel No. 22 removed 33,631 cu. yds.

The work at Harrison's spillway was severely handicapped by cold weather. Only 169 cu. yds. were excavated by hand and 590 cu. yds. of concrete laid.

Maple Ave. bridge superstructure is complete except painting.

[Contractor - The T.A. Gillespie Company]

Contract No. 49.- For prism construction from a point about 500 ft. east of Yellow Mills bridge, about one mile west of Palmyra, to the Monroe county line, including Lock No. 30, sluice-gates, highway bridges, culverts, etc.

The Lidgerwood excavator removed from prism about 1,557 cu. yds. which were spoiled. A Williams traveler, working on dikes, removed 591 cu. yds. from prism. About 452 cu. yds. of wash wall were placed.

Frear's bridge superstructure is complete except painting.

At Wayneport bridge only 88 cu. yds. of concrete were placed owing to severe weather.

About 1537 cu. yds. of prism embankment were formed.

[Contractor - American Pipe & Construction Co.]

Progress of Plans Being Prepared

Contract No. 84.- For the construction of two steel lift bridges at Clyde, within the limits of Contract No. 47. Work on plans suspended, pending an investigation of grade crossing.

Contract No. 89.- For the construction of seven superstructures and one substructure for highway bridges between Lyons and Palmyra on Contracts Nos. 48, 76 and 77. Plans 99 per cent completed.

The site coordinators and site volunteers have no information whatsoever about the Erie Canal or Barge Canal. We thank you in advance for not emailing us with questions, but using a search engine or visiting a library.

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Created: 9/14/04
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