Packet Boats Along the Chenango Canal
The 97 miles of the Chenango Canal provided transportation from Binghamton to Utica where it met the Erie Canal. It was officially opened in May 1837 and was used for transport of passengers and freight for the next 41 years, when it was replaced by the building of railroads. During its existence it brought prosperity to the Chenango Valley via its facilitation of commercial and industrial activity. A mode of travel on the canal was the packet boat. This was a narrow boat, 70 to 90 feet long, which could accommodate up to 60 passengers. It was drawn through the canal by a team of horses, traveling at the rate of about three to four miles an hour. This provided a relaxing, sedate and comfortable mode of travel, allowing the passengers the pleasant occupation of enjoying the passing scenery. This volume presents the story of the packet boat and what it was like to travel and work on the canal.