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:

1 comment:

  1. Loved hearing about this canal state park, Clyde! We live close to the NYS canal system and enjoy all the canal towns have to offer.