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The Seneca River Aqueduct
(also called the "Richmond" or Montezuma Aqueduct)

The second longest of the Erie Canal aqueducts, the Seneca River Aqueduct was 840 feet, 5 1/2 inches long. Thirty piers and two abutments of Onondaga limestone supported a heavy timber trough which carried canal water over the river. Thirty-one stone arches supported the towpath. Construction began in January 1849, and the completed aqueduct was brought into use in Spring 1857. Located in the town of Montezuma in Cayuga County, N.Y., the aqueduct was designed by and built under the direction of Van R. Richmond, State Engineer and Surveyor, and thus is also known as the Richmond Aqueduct. When the Enlarged Erie Canal was replaced by the Barge Canal in 1917, part of the aqueduct was torn down to give boats clear run of the river. Today, seven arches remain on the east shore and three arches remain on the west shore.

For the elevation plan and historical pictures of the Seneca River Aqueduct, see Historical Images of the Seneca River Aqueduct on the Images of the Erie Canal between Rochester and Syracuse page.


Google Earth view of Montezuma and the site of the Seneca River Aqueduct Google Earth view of the site of the Seneca River Aqueduct The Seneca River Aqueduct, looking south
Google Earth view of Montezuma, N.Y. and the site of the Seneca River Aqueduct (at the lower left). Google Earth view of the site of the Seneca River Aqueduct. The Seneca River Aqueduct, looking southeast from the river -- taken by Fred Wehner, July 2007.

Below are photographs of the remains of the Seneca River Aqueduct taken from the heelpath (south) side in early April 2010 -- click on an image below to see the full-size version.

The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, towpath side, looking northwest The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, looking west The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, towpath side, looking west
The eastern end of the Seneca River Aqueduct.
Left: towpath (north) side, looking northwest ; Middle: looking west ; Right: towpath side, looking west.
 
The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, looking north The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, heelpath piers, looking west The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, heelpath piers, looking northwest
Looking north at the last arch. The heelpath (south) piers, looking west (the western end is visible on the left across the river in the distance) The heelpath piers in the foreground, looking northwest from the river level.
 
The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, looking north The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, southeasternmost pier, looking northeast The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, view from within the prism, looking west
Looking north at the last arch from the river level. The southeast abutment (heelpath side), looking northeast from the river level. View from within the prism, looking west.

Below are photographs of the remains of the Seneca River Aqueduct taken from the towpath (north) side in mid-August 2010.

The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, looking southwest The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, looking southwest The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, looking southeast
Looking southwest toward the Seneca River from the towpath. Looking southwest at the first several trunk supports from the towpath. Looking southeast at the remaining trunk supports from the towpath.
 
The Seneca River Aqueduct, looking east along the towpath The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, looking southwest The Seneca River Aqueduct, eastern end, looking southwest The Seneca River Aqueduct, northeastern buttress wall
Looking east, along the towpath. Looking southwest at the towpath arches. The northeastern buttress wall, seen from the towpath.

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Copyright © 2010-2012 by Frank E. Sadowski Jr.
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