Friday, October 5, 2018

Seven to Save initiative by the Preservation League of NY


   You may be aware that the remains of the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site have been listed on the Preservation League of New York Seven to Save List.  ( More on that by clicking: www.preservenys.org/seven-to-save )


   We and the historic site are honored to have this amazing Erie Canal feature recognized by the Preservation League.  The Canal Society of New York graciously nominated the deteriorating structure for the list.  

   Recently, David from Schoharie Crossing - the Education Director - was given the privilege to "Take Over" the Instagram Account of the Preservation League of NY in order to highlight the Aqueduct.  If you are on that social media - We HIGHLY Recommend you check out his posts showing the aqueduct, giving its history and how it inspires and teaching generations of New Yorkers, Americans, and even global travelers.  Their handle on #IG is @preservenys. Several images were posted as well as a few days of "stories" that are archived in the highlighted section of the account. (Hey, we have an Instagram too! @friendsofschohariecrossing)



   We decided to provide you with some of the text* from those posts - courtesy of David at the site - but we still strongly encourage you to check out the images, double tap them and comment over on the Instagram Account!  Help show your love and support! 

Day One - Sunday:
This #IG has been taken over! All this week, @PreserveNY ‘s #igacct will showcase the #historic #SchoharieCreek #aqueduct! I’m David, educator at #SchoharieCrossing State Historic Site, and I’ll be your guide over these 7days to show you why this incredible #historic AND #NationalLandmark feature of the #ErieCanal is on the Preservation League of NYs’ list of #SevenToSave! Follow along, double tap, share with friends… & please comment on these posts to let us know your thoughts. 
The Schoharie Creek Aqueduct was constructed between 1839 to 1841 and when completed spanned 624 feet.  Built by contractor Otis Eddy at a cost of $180,000*, the aqueduct was a major improvement to the Enlarged Erie Canal.  Previously, barges would have to make a crossing through the waters of the Schoharie Creek, and at times of rapid water the canal would be closed at that spot causing a backup in traffic that could last for days. Designed in part by John B. Jervis, the impact of putting Erie’s water over the Schoharie was incredible. 
The aqueduct was abandoned in 1917, when the Barge Canal opened in the Mohawk River – the wooden trough that held the canal water being reallocated to construction of Lock 9 in Rotterdam Junction. The stone work remained intact until the late 1930s, or early 1940s, when arches at its east end were removed to alleviate ice jamming that caused flooding.
*$180,000 is roughly $5million in today’s value.
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Day Two - Monday:
For some #MondayMotivation, I’d like to highlight the #Aqueduct’s Educational Value. 
Each year, thousands of people come to Schoharie Crossing to explore for various reasons.  Many discover more about the history of the #ErieCanal than they may have even bargained for and get a chance to witness the remains of the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct.  While it is unfortunate that all 14 arches are no longer standing, we take the opportunity to discuss the great value of preserving our history for the future with visitors. It also allows us to discuss the engineering of such an incredible structure with people of all ages.  School groups in particular gain great knowledge of the reasons of why and how the Erie Canal was constructed.  Students are given an inspiring yet realistic narrative of what it took to undertake such a monumental task and how it transformed not just New York State but the Nation. 

People have been visiting the aqueduct since before the canal went into the Mohawk River in 1917, We have been sharing the aqueduct’s history at Schoharie Crossing in Fort Hunter – Montgomery County for over 50 years. The last 30 of which the historic site has had a Visitor Center with an exhibit which has been just recently updated. Inside there is now a model of what the Aqueduct looked like c. 1900 to help visitors better understand how it carried the canal over the creek (More later this week on that!). 
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Day Three - Tuesday:
#TowpathTuesday – Let’s take a look at the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct as it was in operation c. 1900.  This iconic image resonates and pulls us all into the lively hustle of the #ErieCanal in the age of the #towpath.  This amazing aqueduct carried the canal over the Schoharie Creek from 1845 to 1917 when the Mohawk River was canalized for the #BargeCanal. 
After the canal moved into the River, the aqueduct was no longer needed, its wooden trough was disassembled and used at the new Lock E9 in Rotterdam Junction. 
On the towpath of the aqueduct remains the Otis Eddy stone (check out our IG Story to see it). Eddy was the contractor for the John Jervis designed structure and he went to considerable pains to ensure its completion.  During the national and state economic recessions of the late 1830’s, NYS Gov’t enacted the “Stop & Tax Law” and several of the Erie Canal Enlargement projects were halted or majorly impacted.  Eddy went into debt to finish his work by deadline as payments for the contract were held or re-negotiated.  The Aqueduct was completed by 1842 and put into use three years later. 
There are more great images of the historically important aqueduct on the Friends of Schoharie Crossing #IG acct @friendsofschohariecrossing
Check out our #IGStory today for more great images!

*David from Schoharie Crossing has taken over the @PreserveNY acct all this week to highlight the aqueduct!
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Day Four - Wednesday:
#WaybackWednesday has me* thinking about the why and how.  The Erie Canal was an engineering marvel when it was completed in 1825, & in TRUE New York fashion, the people sought to make it bigger and better right away! This Enlargement Era began in 1836 & lasted until 1862 – making the canal wider and deeper while reducing the number of locks and its length by miles.  The Enlargement also meant constructing double chambered locks instead of the traffic jam inducing single locks.  For “Canawlers,” the most noted MAJOR improvement was the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct!  They could easily pass over the waters of the Schoharie Creek instead of through them, thus saving valuable time – and as we all know… “Time IS Money!”
One of the reasons for the success of the canal is that it made use of the #Geological advantage #NYS has over other Atlantic states like Virginia.  With the Mohawk Valley cutting a path through the Appalachian Mountain Range that extends from Georgia to Maine, the state was prime for a waterway improvement to connect the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.  General #GeorgeWashington, following his 1783 tour of New York’s western waterways, wrote of the advantages to be gained: “Extend the inland navigation of the eastern waters…and we shall not only draw the produce of the western settlers, but the peltry and fur trade of the lakes also, to our ports, thus adding immense increase to our exports, and binding these people to us by a chain which can never be broken.” 
The “Why?” seems simple now in retrospect, the canal transformed the economy, as well as politics, social and religious movements, and even the changing way the natural environment was viewed by people at the time.  The Aqueduct here at Schoharie Crossing is a direct physical connection to that amazing national story.
The “How?” is just as complicated…I’ll address some more of that on Friday. 
This is the 300th Preservation League of NY #IGpost! Follow along on the stories for more great images and info!
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Day Five - Thursday:
#ThrowbackThursday – The preservation of the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct began as a local grassroots effort!  After removal of two arches c. 1940, people started to notice what was no longer there to see.  By the mid-1950’s the #FortHunter #CanalSociety was formed & boasted a membership into the hundreds. They advocated for the #ErieCanal structures to be placed on the National Register of #HistoricPlaces & gained the attn of NYS Gov’t to est. a #historicsite.  1966 saw the creation of #SchoharieCrossing under Gov. #Rockafeller’s administration.
The Aqueduct was part of local tours & gained attention in travel guides for those traveling Rt5, Rt5S as well as the #NYSThruway.  NYSOPRHP (@nystateparks) was handed operation of the site in 1972 with full interpretative amenities in place by ‘87. Schoharie Creek Aqueduct was given a stabilization effort in ‘79 -which ultimately failed in ’98 w/ the collapse of two more arches. There have been several attempts to bring additional awareness to the diminishing stability of the structure in the last 20 years.  Being on @preservenys #SevenToSave list is the most recent.  The Canal Society of NY nominated the Aqueduct, & it is easy to see why so many advocate for this important, historic -yet still fully relevant- structure. 
Check out the #IGStory today for more images, a cool map & 3D laser stuff!
____Additional Comment_____
From the 1968 Prospectus for Schoharie Crossing: “…This magnificent 624-foot cut limestone structure ranks as one of the finest pieces of monumental construction in the entire country.  Many of its thirteen piers and fourteen 40-foot arches are intact, -a most impressive sight.  This aqueduct, although built for function, achieved the rare combination of grace and utility.  Following its construction, engineers from Europe came to view the remarkable accomplishment of carrying a canal high above the river; and artists came to sketch it, carrying their pictures back to England to be used for designs on Staffordshire pottery and other works of art.
Although there were 15 other aqueducts in the Eastern Division from Utica to the Hudson River, and lengths varied from 22 feet to 1,137 feet, the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct was outstanding; and, in ruins, is a dramatic reminder of the force and foresight of the Canal Builders.”
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Day Six - Friday:
Whoot #FBF is here! As promised, let’s take a moment to go over the “how” the #ErieCanal -& more specifically the #SchoharieAqueduct – was built. Simply put, by hand with ingenuity & determination. Surveyors turned engineers designed #ClintonsDitch & laborers made it happen. 
The original Erie was completed in 1825 & opened w/ much fanfare. Gov. DeWitt Clinton was lauded by most. Success however falls squarely on the shoulders of those who built it & worked it. Men used axes, shovels, picks, & ploughs to dig the canal prism. Simple machines & innovations like the stump puller, tree feller, pulleys & cranes made the work a little easier. Politics were the hard part, along with ego & financing.
The contract for the #SchoharieCreek Aqueduct was let in July 1838: awarded to Otis Eddy. Work was to be completed by Oct1840 but w/ economic recession, delays in construction were instructed by commissioners thus indebting Eddy further to creditors for interest on construction materials. Spring 1843 & again in 1844 saw calls in NYS Legislature to appropriate funds to finish the Jordan Level & get the canal in line w/ the aqueduct.
Schoharie Aqueduct was constructed during low water conditions, making use of coffer dams as well.  Limestone blocks set on wooden footings were laid w/ precision & attn to detail. Arches supported the #towpath, piers faced the flow of water, & a wooden trough would hold the waters of the canal. Iron wedges leveled the stone as masonry set, & iron drains kept the path dry. Towpath fill was pulled from the creek bank, & thus deposited w/in pre-Columbian artifacts created by nomadic hunter/gatherers who made use of the strategic waterways of the creek & #MohawkRiver.
The aqueduct contains history far greater than its own 177 years. Made from ancient ocean sediment rock, filled with glacial stone, soil deposits, & human tools, traveled across by thousands, witnessed by millions, it stands as a testament to what we can all achieve if we set goals & put forth determination.
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Day Seven - Saturday:
I’ve* had an incredible week posting all about the #SchoharieCreek #Aqueduct here at Schoharie Crossing for the Preservation League of NY.  The sun has set on my takeover, but not for the amazing Erie Canal structures we are preserving and advocating for!  My hope is that over the last week you have come to see the beauty and importance – not just historically, but in the present and for the future – of the Schoharie Creek Aqueduct.  
Follow the Friends of #SchoharieCrossing on their #IG acct @FriendsOfSchoharieCrossing and continue the journey as we advocate for the amazing #history of the Erie Canal!  

*David from Schoharie Crossing has taken over the @PreserveNY acct all this week to highlight the aqueduct!   

*We've eliminated some of the #hashtags at the end of posts to streamline this a bit. Most common tags were:
#PreserveNY #preservation #historicpreservation #preservationadvocacy #keepcanalboatsafloat #savetheurger #eriecanal #nysbargecanal #canal #canalhistory #nyshistory #schoharieaqueduct #schohariecrossing #sxshs #mohawkriver #mohawkvalley #seventosave #7tosave
And the other IG Accounts tagged in were often for the NYS Canal Corporation,  Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, NYS Parks, and the local Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.  


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Check out this great snipbit of drone footage covering the
Empire Lock #29 and Lock 20 area of Schoharie Crossing
by
Call of the Loon Productions out of Liverpool, NY. 
See the entire short documentary at: 
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