Limestone Locks and Overgrowth: The Rise and Descent of the Chenango Canal
The Chenango Canal was opened in 1837 as one of the 'laterals' spawned throughout upstate New York to connect with the Erie Canal after its completion in 1825. The Chenango provided a water link between Binghamton in the southern tier and Utica, a major port on the Erie some 90 miles from its eastern terminus at Albany. Like the Erie, the Chenango brought prosperity to the region through which it ran, forged new industries in the canal towns, lowered freight rates, and reduced hauling time. Chief Engineer John B. Jervis of Rome, one of the Erie builders, provided leadership for a construction task that involved 97 miles of canal and 116 locks, along with numerous feeders, reservoirs, dams and aqueducts, and over 200 bridges of various uses. It shut down in 1878, after many years of financial, political, and public controversies; but during its heyday, the Chenango was a proud part of the state's inland waterway transportation system.