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and marshy places, formed a rough and bumpy highway called a corduroy road. Plank roads were the best that existed. It was much pleasanter to travel by water and to carry goods that way. Few people lived west of the Genesee Valley, not because there was any lack of people anxious to live there, but because there was no way to bring their products to a market without heavy expense and great risk.
In order to open the western country to settlers, and to offer a cheap and safe way to carry their produce to a market, improvements in the natural waterways were made. The first canal locks were constructed in 1796 at Little Falls by a private company acting under a charter from the State. These made people eager for Governor DeWitt Clinton's plan for the State-owned Erie canal. This canal, begun in 1817, was laughed at by many who called it “Clinton's Big Ditch." Governor Clinton, however, forseeing its great use to the State, called it “ The Grand Canal.” The route of this waterway had been gone over and approved by President Washington, himself an engineer and surveyor.
The Erie canal was opened October 25, 1825. It was 4 feet deep and about 42 feet wide and could float a boat carrying 30 tons of freight. The first boat to travel its full length was the Seneca Chief; its start from Buffalo was announced by the booming of a line of cannon all the way across the State to Albany and down the Hudson to New York City. The Seneca Chief carried two barrels of water from Lake Erie, which Governor Clinton emptied into the ocean at New York, the first “Marriage of Waters " between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Erie proved to be the world's greatest canal.
Its effect was soon felt, not only through the State but throughout the east and the Great Lakes region. Settlers flocked westward, forests gave way to sawmills and villages replaced these. Prosperous towns were established on the Great Lakes and the splendid chain of cities, which has won for New York the title of Empire State, sprang up along the line of the Erie canal.
The shipping which once went to Philadelphia, the nation's biggest seaport before the Erie canal, came to New York; the city grew by leaps and bounds and became the commercial center of the American Union.
Sixteen years after the opening of the canal, the exports of New York were valued at three times those of Massachusetts, the value of real estate had increased more rapidly than the population, while personal property was nearly four times its former value, and manufacturing three times as great. There were five times as many people following commercial pursuits in New York as there were before the completion of the Erie canal.
Many other canals were built after people saw the success of the Erie, and for many years canals formed the principal trade routes in the State. However, the invention of the steam engine and the building of railroads struck them a severe blow. Some of them failed and were closed; the Chenango canal, connecting Utica and Binghamton, is an example of an abandaned canal. The Erie and main branches of the canal system were enlarged from time to time but still failed to hold their old popularity; and yet in 1882 it was found that the Erie had earned forty-two million dollars, over and above its original cost, expense of enlargement, maintenance and operation. At that time it had depth of 7 feet and could float a boat big enough to carry 240 tons. In 1903, almost ninety years from the date of the beginning of Clinton's canal, the people of the State decided to again enlarge the canal and make it a Barge canal.
The Barge canal consists of four branches; the Erie, running across the State from Waterford on the Hudson river to Tonawanda, where the Niagara river is entered and followed to Lake Erie; the Champlain, running northward along the easterly boundary of the State from Waterford to Whitehall at the southern end of Lake Champlain; the Oswego, branching from the Erie canal north of Syracuse and running northward to Oswego on Lake Ontario; and the Cayuga-Seneca canal, leaving the Erie west of the Oswego junction and running southward, connecting with the two large lakes from which it takes its name. The enlargement of this last canal was not decided upon until 1909.
The Barge canal is one of the world's greatest feats of engineering. Is is about ten times as long as the Panama canal and has many more engineering works and some of the most notable locks in the world.
The old canals followed what is called a “ land line " which means an artificial channel constructed by means of excavations and embank
ments, avoiding the natural streams and lakes wherever possible so to be above danger of flood. The new system, on the other hand, makes use of all these rivers and lakes, whenever practical; it makes them into a canal (“ canalizes them ") by the building of dams, locks, and other engineering works and obtains what is known as * slack water navigation." In fact, less than thirty per cent. of the Barge canal is built in land line."
There will be 446 miles of Barge canals, the Erie being 339 miles
long, the Champlain 61, the Oswego 23, and the Cayuga-Seneca 23 miles long. Of this total, approximately 400 miles are completed and the most of it will be in operation westward to Oswego during the present year, while the remainder is rapidly being finished.
The dimensions of the Barge canal vary according to the locality, but in all places it will be at least 12 feet deep. It is 125 feet wide in earth sections of the land line, 94 feet wide in rock cuts, and has a width of at least 200 feet in the beds of rivers and lakes through which it runs.
The Champlain canal will be complete in 1917 and will be in operation during the summer. The Oswego is finished, and the Erie canal will be finished next year to the point where it meets the Oswego, thereby making it possible to carry goods by Barge canal between Lake Ontario and the Hudson river. The Cayuga-Seneca will be finished this summer and in 1918 the entire canal will probably be completed and in operation, and will be able to float a barge of three thousand tons capacity.
The Barge canal locks are 328 feet long and 45 feet wide. They will lift at one time from one water level to another six such boats as are at present in use on the canals. The ost wonderful of these locks are the five at Waterford, near Troy, which have a combined lift of 169 feet, the greatest series of high lift locks in the world. These locks cost about one-quarter of a million dollars each. The lock at Little Falls has a lift of 4012 feet; this is remarkable because it has a greater lift than any lock on the Panama canal. The siphon lock at Oswego has a lift of 25 feet, is the first lock of this type to be built in the United States and the largest of its type in the world.
In the construction of the Barge canal a greater variety of machinery has been used than ever before used on any engineering undertaking; this machinery represents a cost of about $10,000,000.
This great inland canal will cost $150,000,000 and is being paid for by the people of New York State without any aid from the United States government.
There will be no towpaths on the new canal, so that the big barges which will be used must be run by mechanical means. The State is also building Barge canal terminals at all the cities and important towns along the different channels. These will be provided with machinery to
load and unload barges. It is quite certain that the Barge canal will serve to attract once more the inland shipping that once passed through the old canals and did much toward making New York the Empire State, and New York city the greatest metropolis in the American Union. DeWitt Clinton's dream will have become a reality.
At The Universities Dr. Hugh P. Baker, Dean of the College of Forestry at Syracuse has been granted a year's leave of absence for travel and study. He is leaving the college the first week in April and will spend the first few months in northern Wisconsin and in the Rockies and the Cascades. Sometime in August, if the international situation allows, he plans to go on to China and India, spending some six or seven months in study. ing forest conditions and forestry work. Franklin F. Moon, Professor of Forest Engineering will be acting dean in the absence of Dr. Baker.
Mr. A. B. Recknagel, Professor of Forest Management at Cornell has been granted a leave of absence from his duties at the University. The Second Edition of Professor Recknagel's book "Forest Working Plans" has just been published by John Wiley & Sons.
The State College of Forestry at Syracuse announces the appointment of Mr. Ernest G. Dudley of Leland Stanford University and the Yale Forest School as Assistant Professor of Forest Extension. Mr. Dudley comes to the college from the U. S. Forest Service in California where he has recently been in charge of the Forest Service Exhibit at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. “New York Forestry ” welcomes Mr. Dudley to the State and wishes him well in his new work.
Mr. F. A. Millen, a member of this year's graduating class of the Forestry Department at Cornell, has been appointed assistant state forester in East Texas.
Mr. I. E. Vail, class of 1917, represented the Forestry Club of the State College of Forestry at Syracuse at the recent conference of Forestry Clubs held this year in Seattle. Mr. Vail returned from Seattle through California by way of Albuquerque, visiting some of the National Forests.
Lectures by the members of the faculty of the Cornell Forestry Department proved to be not the least of the many enjoyable features of Farmers' Week at Ithaca, observed during February. These lectures were well attended by visitors from all parts of the State.