As can be seen in many of the images below, the Old Erie Canal (Clinton's Ditch) and the Enlarged Erie Canal originally ran through the center of Syracuse. Today, the former path of the Erie Canal is known as Erie Boulevard. When tolls were charged, boats were weighed in the Syracuse weighlock building. By 1905, the weighlock building was being used as the canal office, and today the building is home to the Erie Canal Museum.
|Left: "Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y." -- from: History of Onondaga County, New York / by Professor W. W. Clayton (D. Mason & Co., Syracuse, N.Y., 1878)|
|"Erie Canal at Salina St., Syracuse, N.Y." (Detroit Publishing Co., c1900)|
|"Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y." (2281, no publisher info.) -- UNDB ; postmarked Oct. 23, 1906.||"Clinton Square and Erie Canal, Syracuse, N.Y." (No. 15, William E. Shoudy, Syracuse, N.Y.) -- UNDB ; not postmarked ; approximately 1906.||"Packet Dock, Syracuse, N.Y." (American Publicity Co., Syracuse, N.Y.) -- postmarked Oct. 8, 1906.|
|"Erie Canal, Syracuse, N.Y." (William Jubb, Syracuse, N.Y.) -- not postmarked ; approximately 1907.|
|"Syracuse, N.Y., Clinton Square & Erie Canal" (No. 774, The Hugh C. Leighton Co., Portland, ME.) -- UNDB ; not postmarked (another copy postmarked June 20, 1907).||"Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y." (No. 7248 -- Robbins, Bros., Boston, Mass.) -- transitional UNDB ; postmarked Nov. 29, 1907.|| "Syracuse, N.Y." ( IPCN Co., 4-10) -- |
UNDB ; postmarked Dec. 27, 1907.
| "Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y." (4455 --
no publisher information) -- divided back ; postmarked Jan. 15, 1908.
|"View East from Clinton Street Bridge -- Syracuse series" (no publisher information) -- postmarked Jan. 15, 1908.||"Erie Canal and Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y." (204392 -- Valentine & Sons Publishing Co., New York) -- postmarked Apr. 2?, 1910.|
|"Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y." (7004, Wm. Jubb Co., Inc., Syracuse, N.Y.) -- Postmarked Nov. 15, 1915.||"Clinton Square, showing Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Syracuse, N.Y." (P-68493, Wm. Jubb Co., Inc., Syracuse, N.Y.) -- Postmarked Oct. 16, 1917. A variant copy is postmarked Sep. 16, 1916.|
|"Erie Canal in Syracuse, N.Y." (Sol Art Prints no. 2170, The Rotograph Co., New York City) -- UNDB ; postmarked Jul. 22, 1905. A variant copy, not postmarked.||"On the Erie Canal, Passing through Syracuse, N.Y." (No. 30 -- William E. Shoudy, Syracuse, N.Y.) -- UNDB ; postmarked Nov. 13, 1906.||"Syracuse, N.Y., Erie Canal West St., Looking East" (3517, Hugh C. Leighton Co., Portland, Me.) -- Not postmarked ; probably 1907.|
|Note that on the postcards in this section dated 1905, 1906 and 1910, the bridge to the left and center spans the entrance to the Oswego Canal.|
|"Erie Canal and Salt Block, Syracuse, N.Y." (No. 2267 -- Rochester News Co., Rochester, N.Y.) - UNDB ; postmarked Feb. 17, 1911.||"Syracuse, N.Y. Erie Canal" (U.S. 481 -- no publisher information) -- not postmarked ; approximately 1910?|
|On the verso of the card to the left: "The Erie Canal within the city limits is about five miles long, and in it there are three locks, with a stop-gate just east of the city for protection from floods. There are about 35,000 salt covers in Syracuse, averaging about 16 feet square and from 6 to 8 inches deep. The brine is pumped from the earth and sold by the State to the manufacturers. About 3,000,000 bushels of salt are produced annually."|
|"Syracuse, N.Y., Erie Canal and Salt Covers" (No. 5899 -- Raphael Tuck & Sons [England]) -- not postmarked ; approximately 1911-12?|
The Weighlock Building at Erie Boulevard East and Montgomery Street in Syracuse, was the third such structure on this site. Located at the original junction of the Erie Canal and the Oswego Canal, it was built for collecting tolls and inspecting boats. (Note that, in the section above, on the postcards dated 1905 and 1910, the weighlock building can be seen in the center background.)
After a boat was drawn into the lock, the gates were closed at each end and the water was drained out. The boat then settled onto a massive cradle suspended from an overhead balance beam. The gross weight (boat plus cargo) was recorded, and the registered empty weight was subtracted to obtain the weight of the cargo.
For further information on weighlocks, plus an illustration of the weighing mechanism, see the 175th Anniversary section, Making It Work, The Weigh Lock. For toll rates, see the two tables on the Miscellaneous Images of the Erie Canal page.
Canal tolls were abolished in 1883. In 1905, the scales were removed, the second floor was extended over the lock chamber to provide a drafting room, and the building was used as offices for the New York State Department of Public Works until 1954. Efforts to save the building from being destroyed took up the next 8 years, resulting in its conversion to a museum. The Erie Canal Museum opened its doors on October 25, 1962. For further information on the building, see the Erie Canal Museum site.
|"Syracuse, N.Y. Erie Canal Office" (Post Card Series no. 2025, Raphael Tuck & Sons, [London]) -- Postcard ; UNDB, postmarked Dec. 24, 1905.||"The Weigh Lock" (Syracuse Series -- no publisher information) -- UNDB ; approximately 1907.||"Weight Lock, Erie Canal, Syracuse, N.Y." (William Jubb, Syracuse, N.Y. and Leipzig) -- Postcard ; postmarked Sept. 17, 1908?|
|Images from the Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS NY,34-SYRA,8A, Library of Congress|
|"View along Erie Canal of Weighlock Building in background and of warehouses in foreground" / M.E. Judd, photographer (photocopy of stereopair) -- ca.1875. [See stereo view in description above.]||"General view of Weighlock Building and junction of Erie and Oswego Canals, winter of 1888-1889." -- The Oswego Canal is in the foreground.||"View from across canal, showing north facade and west end" -- ca.1903.|
|"General view of west end and south front" -- ca.1898.||"North elevation, during 1906 alteration."||"General view of north facade and west end" -- Gilbert Ask, photographer, April 1963.|
| "Panaroma [i.e. Panorama] View of the |
Washout of the Erie Canal into Onondaga
Creek, Syracuse, N.Y., July 30, 1907"
(no publication info.) -- Not postmarked.
|"Washout of the Erie Canal at Syracuse, N.Y. July 30, '07" (no publication info.) -- not postmarked.||"Where the bottom fell out of the Erie canal into Onondaga Creek, Syracuse, N.Y. -- July 30, 1907 (no publication info.) -- postmarked Aug. 12, 1907.|
"CANALS SHUT FOR A MONTH. -- Repairing of Break at Syracuse Necessitates Long Delay.
Syracuse, N.Y., July 31.-- Joseph Ripley, engineer for the state department of public works, is here in charge of the repairing of the break of the Erie Canal at Onondaga Creek culvert. He said to-day that the Erie and Oswego canals would probably be closed for a month, but the extent of the repairs necessary cannot be determined until the two remaining arches of the culvert are inspected.
The culvert was built in 1840 at a cost of $55,000. The five boats which were drawn into the hole yesterday afternoon were burned to-day, and firemen tore down the north wall of the Amos mill, of the Standard Milling Company, which was partly destroyed by undermining. A section of the north wall of the Greenway Brewery, one of the largest industrial buildings in Syracuse, fell to-day." -- The Washington Post, Aug. 1, 1907, p. 2.
"One of the worst breaks in the history of the canal." -- New York Times, Aug. 1, 1907, p. 6.
"ERIE CANAL OPEN SOON. -- Navigation Will Probably Be Resumed by End of the Week.
Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 12.-- Supt. Frederick C. Stevens of the State Department of Public Works, who was in Buffalo last night, announced that the break in the Erie Canal at Syracuse was so nearly repaired that he expected water would be let into the canal by Friday or Saturday next, and that navigation would be at once resumed. The break occurred about ten days ago when masonry arches broke and dropped the bed of the canal into the Onondaga Creek, ingulfing four canalboats and bringing down the walls of two mills along the banks." -- New York Times, Aug. 13, 1907, p. 11.
"BREAK IN ERIE CANAL.
Syracuse.-- Another break in the Erie Canal at the scene of the recent trouble which tied up traffic for over a month has been discovered and the work of drawing off the water begun." -- Wall Street Journal, Oct. 10, 1907, p.2.
June 2015 view of the historic 19th century Erie Canal culvert mentioned in the 1907 collapse above. The stone structure is considered to be a "culvert" rather than an "aqueduct", and features three arches, one currently underground. Built in 1840, it was a 19th-century solution which allowed the canal to cross Onondaga Creek. Repaired again in 2015, it still carries traffic on Erie Boulevard. The culvert cannot be seen due to nearby buildings and highways. -- Photo by Sean Kirst, used with permission.
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