Field notes, monthly work, material, and cost estimates and measurements for Erie Canal enlargement

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

These notes taken by civil engineers and others employee are divided into three subseries. Subseries 1, field notes, provide information recorded during a survey such as tables, pencil sketches, and measurements of structures and supplies. Subseries two, monthly estimates of costs and materials, includes measurements of locks, levels, timber or stone used or needed; and subseries 3, contains measurements of materials needed on hand or used including measurements of iron, stone, gravel, areas to be painted, and of canal sections
2 cu. ft.(24 volumes)
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


Arranged in three subseries: Subseries 1, Field Notes; Subseries 2, Monthly Estimates, and Subseries 3, Measurements. Within subseries, volumes arranged by number on binding.

Scope and Content Note

These are notes taken by civil engineers and others employed by the Canal Commissioners and Canal Board. The volumes are divided into three subseries.

Subseries 1, Field Notes (vols. 1-11) provide the surveyor's working record of information recorded during a survey. Information includes tables of benchmarks and levels along the canal; measurements of tow path embankments for widening tow paths; pencil sketches of maps of canal route; measurements of locks, walls, and bridges; measurements of stone, timber, and iron used, on hand, or needed at various locks, bridges, and aqueducts (usually length, breadth, and depth of locks); diagrams and measurements for painting bridges;

daily statistics on number of men working, compiled monthly (vol. 3 only); surveys of appropriated lands, for use of Canal Appraisers (survey notes and measurements, descriptions or property, diagrams and maps showing buildings and naming landholders adjacent to the canal, and amounts of land appropriated and from whom); and miscellaneous rough notes, pencil sketches, and calculations.

Subseries 2, Monthly Estimates of Costs and Materials (vols. 12-17), includes amount of work done or pending; measurements of timber or stone used or needed, costs of work and materials; and measurements of levels, locks, and cross sections of the canal, with rough diagrams and maps.

Subseries 3, Measurements of Materials Needed, On Hand, or Used (vols. 18-24), includes measurements of timber needed, on hand, used in, or taken from locks, bridges, dockage, or culverts (giving types, such as hemlock, pine, oak and the length, breadth, depth, and contents, in cubic feet, of each piece); similar measurements of iron for bridges; similar measurements of stone for bridges and bridge abutments, arches, lock walls, and aqueducts; similar measurements of gravel (also gives number of loads of gravel); measurements of areas to be painted; accompanying diagrams showing measurements; and a variety of survey field notes, diagrams, and measurements of sections of the canal.

Each volume is comprised of several paper notebooks bound together. Some of the notebooks are not dated or otherwise identified. From the small number of notebooks that are identified, it appears that they were bound together into the volumes by general subject (field notes, measurements, estimates) without concern for dates or section numbers. Many volumes include notebooks which appear to belong elsewhere-- e.g., a notebook of measurements within a volume of notebooks of field notes. Binding titles refer to predominant type of information in the volumes.

Numbers on the bindings were later covered with labels with different numbers, some of which are still attached to the volumes. There is no indication of the purpose of the renumbering, which has eliminated any apparent arrangement of the series.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Related Information

Other finding aids

Indexes in volumes 1, 4, 12-23: by lock number, section number, name of bridge or aqueduct, or other location on canal; volume 24: by contractor.

Container list.

Access Terms

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