The Champlain Canal was first opened in 1823 and went through a continual series of enlargements especially in 1916 when the present version
was opened, running some 61 miles from Waterford to Lake Champlain.
Many old structures such as locks and aqueducts from the old versions of the canals still remain. Many were engineering marvels in their day
and all are characterized by the beautiful hand-cut stonework that is still impressive to this day.
When the modern Champlain Canal was built, it bypassed the Schuylerville terminal,
so the Schuylerville Junction Lock was built around 1916 to provide continued
access. The lock and terminal remained in use until the 1950's.
Numerous hardware pieces and the remains of the original doors remain scattered around
the lock. The lock was constructed of poured concrete and has not weathered the
elements nearly as well as the hand-cut limestone blocks used in older locks. Modern
Champlain Lock C-5 appears in the background. After several hours of clearing brush
and cleaning off decades of rotted leaf debris, we see a reasonably well preserved original
lock door, or gate
Closeup of the bottom end of the
hinge-pin or quoin post on the door.
At the bottom of each door are 2 flap valves operated by push rods, which allowed water
in or out of the lock. This photo has been rotated to provide the correct perspective.
All joints of the beams used in the construction
of the doors were re-inforced by these metal
The following pictures of the lock and captions were found at site:
"The Travels of Tug 44" www.tug44.org/canal.history/
Schuylerville Junction Lock - Old Champlain Canal - Schuylerville, NY
Schuylerville Basin and the Junction/Guard Lock (Text from "http://www.nycanals.com/Schuylerville"
When the Champlain Canal was enlarged for the final time by the Barge Canal Act of 1903, it utilized directly the Hudson River rather than
an artificial channel through town. This meant that profitable businesses along the former Enlarged Champlain Canal in the Schuylerville Basin
would no longer be directly on the canal.
To provide access to this section of the Enlarged Champlain Canal the town decided to forgo a new terminal wall on the Hudson River.
Rather, the money for a terminal wall was instead used to build a junction/guard lock to connect the old canal with the new canal. Located
directly along side the modern Champlain Canal Lock C5, this guard lock once allowed boats to enter the Old (Enlarged) Champlain Canal
after the modern Champlain Canal was built, without the risk that the Hudson River overtaking the town.
The lock, built of concrete and not stone like the old locks, was completed in latter half of 1916. The intent was only to provide access to the
Schuylerville Basin and therefore the northern side of the Fish Creek Aqueduct was filled in. This wall also prevented the need to maintain the
aqueduct, saving money down the road.
The decision to not create a terminal wall and instead maintain access to the old canal basin unfortunately has had a negative long-term
impact. Being built to the a small size, it did not allow large vessels to enter this section of the canal and thus it eventually went unused in the
1950s. It was then sealed by a metal dam and the chamber partially filled for use as a roadway. This means that today there is no terminal
facilities in Schuylerville, something that would help drive recreational traffic to the riverside park side community
The Junction Lock gave access to Schuylerville's portion of the original Champlain Canal to continue services to businesses along
its waterway after the canal was modernized to use the Hudson River as a primary route.
This image, taken from an 1889 map of Schuylerville, shows the typical influence the Champlain Canal had on villages where it
passed through. While Fish Creek provided power for the water turbines of the mills, the canal provided a means for the raw
materials and products to be transported to and from them.
If you look closely you can see the aqueduct that carried the canal over Fish Creek (bottom, center - right) including a canal boat
being towed toward the basin. A basin allowed boats to turn around and included docks for loading and unloading. This
provided local farmers a means to reach markets they would otherwise never have had and turned the community into a port for
trade goods and travel.
You can also see the canal run that extended from the basin back to the mills that were located along South Broadstreet. This
image also shows the early use of steam generators at two of the mills and two railroad lines. A train can be seen at the depot on
the tracks that ran down Green Street (look to the upper right) and additional tracks appear to terminate at present day Fort
Hardy Park. The trolley lines did not appear until 1900.
Today, you can cross a foot bridge over Fish Creek and see the remains of the aqueduct and walk the Canalway Trail from the
Schuyler House to Lock 5 and onward to Eagle Point.
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