All that remains of old Lock #47
Close to my Home is part of what used to be the Old Union Canal that was once a major transportation means in the early 1800’s. Canal or River Barge’s used this to transport coal, wood, stores, and people up and down the Canal. The Schuykill River is just off to the right of this Image and out of the picture.
The Union Canal once stretched from the Coal Region Area all the way down into Philadelphia, PA. Not much of it remains today, except some places where you can still see where the old Canal once was. Most of it has been filled in with ground or has been torn up for other progress.
The Old Lock operated much the same as the one’s we have today, just in a simpler fashion. Water was let in on one end of the Lock to raise or lower a Barge to a different level. Barges coming down the Canal would be lowered, while those coming up the Canal would be raised. The Lock doors on either end were made of wood and had to be opened and closed by manual labor. The opening’s are now sealed shut, and the doors are no longer there. A fence has been placed around the Lock so people don’t fall into the 10 ft. deep space where the Barges once entered.
With the coming of the Railroad, and it gaining more and more popularity, the method of transportation by Canal grew less and less. It was cheaper to ship by rail than by boat and it was faster. The “Iron Horse” is what made the Canal meet it’s demise. There are a few of these old Locks still around and some of them are in working order. This is what made our Country what it is today.
The above Image shows the Old Union Canal and Towpath. The depression off to the left is where the old Canal used to be. The path to the right was once the Towpath where the Mules & Horses walked pulling the Barges up and down the Canal. The path is now used for walking, jogging, & bicycle’s. It’s 7 miles long. During the Fall all the trees change color, making it pretty to see.
Happy Holidays to all