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The Lehigh Canal

The Lehigh Canal
A Virtual Tour

Old print showing canal boats being loaded with anthracite coal at Mauch Chunk

 

All along the canal and particularly in areas where the canal is easily accessible to visitors, the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Commission has placed information stations. A portion of one such station is shown above.

 

At this location,Nancy Run Creek flows across the canal from north to south and into the Lehigh River. From Allentown to this point the canal is watered. It is 37.38 miles from Maunch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) following the canal. From lock #43, although the canal is watered, it has not been maintained, nor has it been dredged in ages and, as a result, it is badly silted in spots. In places, it is little more than a stream. Not so small that one could step across, but it could be easily waded from shore to shore. At Nancy Run Creek the canal is dammed and the water from the canal reenters the river at this point.

From Bethlehem to Freemansburg, there are frequent access points to the canal. After leaving Sand Island in Bethlehem it is accessable from the Freemansburg bridge, then there is a footbridge that crosses the canal at mile 36.94 giving access from Freemansburg and the many people that live along the northern banks of the canal. Where the dam has been constructed at Nancy Run Creek, an earthern bank gives easy access where the 'Red Bridge' used to cross the canal.

 

Just before lock #44 on the river side of the canal, a grist mill once stood. A portion of the foundation of the grist mill is still visible.

 

Grist mill foundation from a different angle. Lock #44 and the locktender's house can be seen in the background.

 

The locktender's house for lock #44 is of stone construction and is located on the berm side beyond the bypass flume. Local efforts to maintain the area are evident. The locktender's house has electricity and a lamp on a post to provide night time illumination in the evenings.

 

A view of the locktender's house from the towpath.

 

View of the towpath looking east, the mule barn on the right of the towpath, the canal and lock on the left, then the flu and on the far left the locktender's house.

 

Archival photograph of lock 44 at freemansburg showing the locktenders house. Photo was taken in the late 1960's. Photo is part of the Library of Congress collection.

 

The mule barn that now stands on this location was rebuilt in 1996 on the original foundation.

 

View of lower end of guard lock #44.

 

Lock and Locktender's house from towpath wall.

 

Locktender's house for lock #45 or what remains of it.

 

Another view of the remains of the Lock Tender's house looking at a boat on the Lehigh River through the hole in the wall.

 

Lock #45 looking downstream. This lock was located in what was then known as Republic, PA.

 

Lock #45 lower end from towpath wall. Lift for this lock was 5.7 feet.

 

Lower wall of lock #45 looking downstream. Note the crumbling wall on the towpath side of lock.

 

Flora and Fauna in the dry canal just before lock #46.

 

Lock #46 looking through the lock in a downstream direction. This lock was known as Hope Lock. The Hope Lock was the outlet lock for Section 7. At one time, a stable and general store were located on the berm (left) side of this lock.

 

Lock #46 with a view of lower end of lock. Note the metal hardware of the lower gates in the center of the lock. As this was the outlet lock, the towpath crossed a bridge at the lower end of the lock and then followed the north bank of the canal for a spell and then the north bank of the river until it eventually crossed to the river's south bank.

 

Close-up view of the hardware for the lower gates. Note that the gates were in the closed position. All wooden parts of the lower gates have long since disappeared.

 

Lock #46 looking back upstream through the lock. The lower gate hardware is visible in the center of the photograph. The bridge that crossed the canal is no longer in evidence.

 

Originally, the towpath continued on the north side of the river until it reached dam # 8. At that point, the boats were pulled across the river to the south bank using a chain system to facilitate the entry to the Delaware Canal at Easton which followed the west bank of the Delaware River. Sometime later however, a causeway was built to an island in the river. The causeway was located a little over one-half mile below lock #46. This is a view of the outlet into the Lehigh River.

 

The towpath crossed over to Island Park and proceeded the length of the island and then crossed to the south bank of the river over a two-span chain suspension bridge. This is a view of the river looking east.

 

The Chain Bridge, shown above, crossed the south channel of the Lehigh River from Island Park to the south bank of the river just above dam 8. The mules and mule tender crossed the Chain Bridge and then proceded down the bank of the river to guardlock #8, also known as the Glendon Lock.

 

Section 8, the last section of the Lehigh Canal, begins at this point. Dam 8 was built across the Lehigh River to provide water for this section. The original dam no longer exist, but a new dam has been constructed a short distance below the location of the original dam.

 

This photograph shows Dam 8 across the Lehigh River. This newly constructed dam is a little further downstream from the location of the original dam. The newer dam provides water to the section of the canal that passes through the Canal Park.

 

    Continued

 

View a map of the area of the Lehigh Canal

View a more detailed map of the Canal System


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Lehigh Canal & Navigation Company
History of the Lehigh Canal

  

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