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Images of the Erie Canal in Syracuse

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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.


Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y. 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)

Images from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division,
Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection

Erie Canal at Salina St., Syracuse, N.Y. Erie Canal at Salina St., Syracuse, N.Y. Clinton Square and Erie Canal, Syracuse, N.Y., 1906
"Erie Canal at Salina St., Syracuse, N.Y." -- Detroit Publishing Co., c1900.

Postcards of the Erie Canal in Syracuse

Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y. Clinton Square and Erie Canal, Syracuse, N.Y., 1906 Packet Dock, Syracuse, N.Y.
"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.
 
Syracuse, N.Y., Clinton Square and Erie Canal, 1906 Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y. Syracuse, N.Y., 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. View East from Clinton Street Bridge -- Syracuse series Erie Canal and Clinton Square, Syracuse, N.Y.
"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. Clinton Square, showing Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Syracuse, 
          N.Y.  
"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., 1905 Syracuse, N.Y., Erie Canal West St., Looking East  
"Erie Canal in Syracuse, N.Y." (Sol Art Prints no. 2170, The Rotograph Co., New York City) -- UNDB ; postmarked Jul. 22, 1905. (The weighlock building can be seen in the center background.) "Syracuse, N.Y., Erie Canal West St., Looking East" (3517, Hugh C. Leighton Co., Portland, Me.) -- Not postmarked ; probably 1907.  
 
Erie Canal and Salt Block, Syracuse, N.Y. Syracuse, N.Y. Erie 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? (The weighlock building can be seen in the center background.)  

Images of the Syracuse Weighlock Building

Looking west toward the Syracuse Weighlock building 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.

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, 1905 Locks, Looking East, Lockport, N.Y. - 1940s?
"Syracuse, N.Y. Erie Canal Office" (Post Card Series no. 2025, Raphael Tuck & Sons, [London]) -- Postcard ; UNDB, postmarked Dec. 24, 1905. "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 and warehouses Weighlock Building and junction of Erie and Oswego Canals General view of Weighlock Building west end and south front
"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 Weighlock Building west end and south front North elevation of Weighlock Building, during 1906 alteration General view of Weighlock Building  north facade and west end
"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.

Washout of the Erie Canal in Syracuse

Washout of the Erie Canal into Onondaga Creek, 1907 "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 Washout of the Erie Canal into Onondaga Creek, 1907
"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.

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