Sunday, August 14, 2011

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, Princeton, NJ

Here I am on the towpath at Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.  Built to safely transport freight from Philadelphia to New York, only 36 miles of the main canal and 22 miles of feeder canal still exist.  You can see it in back of me. By the way, feeder canals were used to supply water to the main canal.  

The stopping points for the canal were the towns of Bordentown situated along the Delaware River and New Brunswick located on the Raritan River.  

Construction began on the D & R Canal in 1830 and was completed in 1834. Canal boats and mules were used until steam boats took over in 1843.  80% of Pennsylvania coal began its journey down the canal between 1860 and 1870, when navigation up and down the canal was at its busiest.   Also around this period of time, construction began on a railroad route across central New Jersey.

To avoid competition between the canal and the railroad, the two companies merged and formed "The Joint Companies" in 1831.

But the speed of the railroad overpowered the slow moving steam tugboats and the canal route began to decline.  1892 was its last year of operation, but remained open through the 1932 shipping season.    After the D & R Canal closed for good, the State of New Jersey took over. Today it is used as a water supply system. 

In 1973, the canal and its buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places.  The following year over 60 miles of the canal were made into a state park.  

Much of my information for the Delaware and Raritan Canal comes from their official website at the link below.  I'm linking you to some historic pictures of the canal.  It's a great site and I urge all of you to visit.

New Jersey State site for the D & R Canal:

Wikipedia article:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shelter Rock, Border of North Hills and Manhasset, LI, NY

Here I am at Shelter Rock, another glacial erratic like Madison Boulder in New Hampshire, although this one is right here on Long Island.

Located ten feet away from Shelter Rock Road, this rock is 1800 tons and has a 30 foot overhang.   It is 55 feet high and 35 feet wide.  It was deposited here from 20,000 to 11,000 years ago.  It is the largest boulder on Long Island and it might just be the largest in New York State. 

Several legends surround this boulder, first known as Milestone Rock, also known as Manhasset Rock.  The Matinecocks had a settlement nearby and there is one tale of a young soldier who ran away with a beautiful Indian maid, but was pierced with arrows before he could reach the protection of Shelter Rock. Cowkeepers would often use the overhang as protection against the rain, while the cattle grazed over the pastureland.

Supposedly, there is buried treasure on this site as well, although the treasure was never found. Another tale has the Matinecocks taking shelter during their hunts.    

The southeast side of the boulder was excavated between April 26 and May 5, 1946 by Carlyle S. Smith and Ralph Solecki, both of the American Museum of Natural History.  There were numerous artifacts found there including Native American pottery shards, projectile points, stone knife blades, remains of marine shells and broken animal bones.  

Shelter Rock is located on the property of Greentree, the former Whitney estate and the top is visible from the road. It is not readily accessible to the public, however tours are arranged to accommodate scouts, school and other small groups from time to time.  

I am including these links below:

Wikipedia article:

Article from the Suffolk Gem and Mineral Club where I borrowed most of the information from.

Another glacial erratic Madison Boulder, Madison, NH