Diabetes Awareness Campaign: Trekking Along the Erie Canal.
North Tonawanda
Pendleton
Lockport
Medina
Albion
Brockport
Rochester
Rochester
Fairport
Macedon
Palmyra
Newark
Lyons
Weedsport
Jordan
Camillus
Syracuse
DeWitt
Chittenango
Canastota
Canastota
Durhamville
Oneida
Rome
Utica
Ilion
Herkimer
Little Falls
Canajoharie
St. Johnsville
Auriesville
Amseterdam
Schenectady
Schenectady
Colonie
Albany
Bushnell Basin
Richardson's Canal House.
Richardson's Canal House
Three miles east of Pittsford is the Bushnell Basin. Basins were built along the canal to serve as places where the barges could turn around. Some basins were natural depressions or ponds or other while others were manually dug out. Bushnell’s Basin was important because until 1822 it was the western terminus of the canal. Still at the basin stands the Richardson Canal House, an inn which was built in 1818. This interesting structure has survived to this very day and looks very much like it did when the canal opened.
Why did the canal stop at this point? Well, just a mile west of the basin the Irondequoit Creek (a misnomer since it’s actually a river) flows from the south northward to Lake Ontario. The spring floods were a potential disaster for the canal. To make matters worse the creek was at the bottom of a 70 foot valley that was a mile across from top to top.
Originally the engineers planned a 70 ft high aqueduct across the valley similar (but much longer) to that what was eventually constructed across the Genesee River in Rochester. However two natural factors made such a plan doomed to failure. The ground was not solid at the bottom of the valley and the shape of the valley led to high winds shooting down the valley corridor. Such winds would make a trestle unstable.
The decision was made to fill the valley with an earthen works embankment in which the canal would be in a 40 foot wide groove at the top of a dike-like section. But before it could be started a huge culvert would have to be built over the creek so its flow wouldn’t be impeded. Almost 1000 20 ft pilings were driven down through the marsh to the bed rock. These pilings were tree trunks trimmed into logs. Whether they were cut from local timber or brought to Bushnell by barge, I do not know. Masons built a stone culvert that spanned the creek 30 feet and ran north-south for 100 feet. Then it was topped with an arched tunnel 25 high. It had to be well built to hold the weight of the 45 feet of earth works above it. The length of the embankment is approximately a mile at the top. About three thousand Irish immigrants were brought in to provide the back breaking labor of hauling and dumping the fill. It took two years of ‘round the clock work to complete the job.
The marvel of the Irondequoit Embankment soon became a tourist attraction with people traveling in packet boats so they could glide by at tree top level.
Within about a thousand.
 
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