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[graphic header] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
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[graphic] Delaware Canal


[photo] Delaware Canal and towpath
Photograph from the National Historic Landmarks collection

[photo] Views of the canal and one of the camelback bridges
Photograph from the National Historic Landmarks collection

Approved by the Pennsylvania legislature in 1827 as part of the State's grand scheme to construct a statewide system of canals, the Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania Canal was completed in 1832. The longest-lived canal in the country, operating for more than a century, the canal opened the anthracite coalfields to the markets of Philadelphia and New York City. Anthracite made up more than 90 percent of the canal's cargo. Through its connections with the Lehigh Canal, the Delaware Canal served a primary function in the development of the anthracite coal industry in the upper Lehigh Valley. By providing a convenient and economical means of transplanting the coal to Philadelphia, New York, and the eastern seaboard, the advantages of this heating medium were made available to thousands of individuals and industries, thus conserving the rapidly dwindling wood resources being consumed for domestic heating purposes.

The introduction of anthracite in place of charcoal in the operation of the iron furnaces stimulated the expansion of iron industries along the Lehigh and Delaware rivers. During the Delaware Canal's active existence, approximately 33 million tons of anthracite coal and about 6 million tons of miscellaneous cargoes, including foodstuffs for communities were transported along the canal. The Delaware Canal also stimulated local economies along its route, and all the communities along its length enjoyed prosperity. Now maintained as a State park, the Delaware Canal still contains water throughout most of its original length. Almost all of the locks, aqueducts, and overflows are still extant, as well as numerous associated historic properties such as lockkeeper houses and camelback bridges. Designated a National Historic Landmark, the Delaware Canal retains a great deal of integrity throughout its length and provides a nostalgic reminder of a once vital transportation link.

The Delaware Division of the Pennsylvania Canal, or Delaware Canal State Park, parallels the west bank of the Delaware River from Easton to Bristol (Bucks and Northampton Counties). The Visitor Center, at Two Rivers Landing, in Easton is open Tuesday-Sunday, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Please call the Visitor Center at 610-515-8000 or visit the website.


 [graphic] Link to Canal History Essay
 [graphic] Link to Delaware and Lehigh Region Essay
 [graphic] Link to Scranton and the Railroad Essay
 [graphic] Link to Establishing the Heritage Corridor Essay

 

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[graphic] Link to the National Park Service website