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Delaware and Hudson Canal High Falls, New York:. A Case Study Photos by Shaun Boyce . The D&H . Goal: Link coal mines owned by William and Maurice Wurts to transport anthracite coal from PA to the Hudson River and NYC. It opened in 1828 and closed in 1898.

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delaware and hudson canal high falls new york

Delaware and Hudson CanalHigh Falls, New York:

A Case Study

Photos by Shaun Boyce

the d h
The D&H
  • Goal: Link coal mines owned by William and Maurice Wurts to transport anthracite coal from PA to the Hudson River and NYC.
  • It opened in 1828 and closed in 1898.
  • Other canals had been built: Erie (NY), Morris (NJ).
the first 16 miles
The first 16 miles
  • A Gravity railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale.
  • Designed by John B. Jervis, the D&H chief engineer.
  • Used steam engines, incl. the Stourbridge Lion and inclines to cart coal.
  • The coal crossed the HoosicMtns.
from honesdale pa to the rondout kingston
From Honesdale, PA to the Rondout (Kingston)
  • 108 miles and 108 locks
  • The canal itself was 32’ at the top, 20’ at bottom, depth of 4’.
  • Locks were 76’ x 10’, and canal boats carried 20-30 tons of coal.
  • Speed was 1-3 mph.
  • Pulled by mules, it was a 7-10 day roundtrip
  • In later years the canal was widened and deepened so boats could carry 140 to
locks 16 20

Locks 16-20

High Falls, NY

family life
Family Life
  • Italian and Irish immigrants labored to build the canal.
  • Families lived aboard the canal barges.
  • Everyone worked.
  • Orphaned children called hoagies would work 15-20 hour days.
  • D&H policy was to save a mule before a child if both fell into the water.
  • Villages sprang up along the canal as industries were created along the route.
results of canals on hudson valley
Results of Canals on Hudson Valley
  • Direct:
    • The economy in the valley expanded as the cost of transporting goods dropped by 90%.
    • Canal fees kept taxes.
  • Indirect:
    • NYS became the financial capital of the world.
    • Upstate settlement led NYS to be the most populous state.
    • The Hudson became part of a national transportation network.