October 26

October 26, 1825: Completion of the Erie Canal. “The Erie Canal, begun in 1817, was a triumph of early engineering in the United States and one of the most ambitious construction projects of nineteenth-century America. It was longer by far than any other canal previously built in Europe or America, crossing rivers and valleys, cutting through deep rock, and passing through marshes and forests in its 363-mile course across New York State. Throughout the nineteenth century, the Erie Canal underwent enormous changes and expansions in response to its overwhelming popularity as a means of travel and transport. These additions and revisions are documented by thousands of engineering maps and drawings created over the course of the century.

The driving force behind the canal project was DeWitt Clinton, former mayor of New York City and Governor of New York State. Completed in 1825, the original Erie Canal is often referred to as ‘Clinton’s Ditch.’ It was forty feet wide and four feet deep. Ten years after its opening, the Erie Enlargement was begun, built in response to the immediate overcrowding of the original canal. The Enlargement expanded the canal to seventy feet wide and seven feet deep. In 1903, a third canal was begun, known as the Barge Canal. Completed in 1918, it used a new route in many places and required no towpath, as the boats were self-propelled instead of drawn by horse or mule.”

Barge Dumpling Sludge

October 26, 1990New York Times headline— Closing of Sludge Hauler Is Delayed. “New York State has been forced to allow a family it called New York Harbor’s worst polluter to continue its sewage sludge-hauling operation because three sewage authorities in Westchester County and New Jersey have no other way of transporting the sludge to an offshore dump site.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation had ordered that the oil- and sludge-barge business of the family, the Frank family, be shut by yesterday. But state officials said late yesterday that the sewage authorities had been unable to line up substitute haulers by the deadline.

The officials said they expected the sewage authorities to obtain the needed barge capacity by Monday, but Peter M. Frank, a family member and corporate officer, said ‘there is no excess capcity in this business in the Harbor.’

The authorities that were affected are Westchester County’s sewage treatment plant in Yonkers; the Joint Meeting of Union and Essex Counties Utilities Authority in Elizabethport, and the Middlesex County Utilities Authority of Sayerville.”

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