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Bike Path Entrance

Photo by

Terry Potoczny  08 07 2004



Erie Canal Lock 33. Time & Photos Donated by Terry Potoczny. Terry and his team of volunteers have spent countless hours cleaning out the old lock.

Under Restoration. Lock 33. Once filled with water and the floating cargoes that made the Erie Canal commercially successful, in November 1999 these double locks instead held tons of garbage including 125 tires, one snowmobile, a motorcycle, assorted bicycle parts, refrigerators, kitchen stoves, and a television. Like other segments of the Erie Canal across the state, these locks are being rescued and restored by local preservation groups, businesses, and governments. Connected by paths and trails, they serve as links to the past and recreational respite for the present.

History of the Lock by Tom Grasso

The lock was built as a double Enlarged Erie in the late 1830's-say 1838 -1840. It was definitely opened for navigation and brought into use at the opening of navigation in 1840. Therefore it had to be built in the few preceding years. Since Clinton's Ditch ran on a diagonal South of the lock they could work on this lock "in the dry" without concern about traffic and navigation on the old canal. My guess is that the lock probably took only a year or two to build that is why I say 1838-1840. Perhaps construction started earlier (my hunch is not) but I can't verify that at this time. If construction did start earlier it could have begun NO earlier than 1836 as that is when construction of the Enlarged Erie began.

It was lengthened during the Winter-Spring of 1887-1888. The contract was awarded to Soule and Raynor of Syracuse who also lengthened Lock 32 at Fort Plain. Their bid was $24,620.50 for Lock 33 and $24,111.50 for Lock 32.

It was lengthened at the head of the berm side instead of the foot probably because Lock 33 is located at the end of a curve and lengthening it at the foot would make the lower end of the lock stick out into the curve taking away from the arc of the bend rendering it sharper and for double headers this could be a big problem. Here again that is my interpretation as I have not found that in writing as of this message. There must have been a good reason for lengthening at the head because it is more difficult and expensive to lengthen at the head than the foot because of the greater excavation required into the upstream canal bed as opposed to the downstream end where all that is required is excavation for footings. Compare bids for Locks 32 and 33.


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