New York State Engineer and Surveyor Map of Improvements to State Ditch off the Chemung Canal

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

This map shows proposed improvements (a proposed correction and extension) of the ditch to contain water at low areas between the Chemung Canal and the Chemung Canal Feeder. The map shows property lines, names of owners, and topographical symbols marking swamp lands; and lines for proposed changes to the state ditch.
0.2 cubic feet (1 map: col. ink; 52 x 123 cm.)
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:

Scope and Content Note

This single manuscript map shows proposed improvements to a state ditch located off the Chemung Canal. While it is uncertain who prepared the map, it clearly represents lines for a proposed correction and extension of the state ditch to contain water at low areas between the Chemung Canal and the Chemung Canal feeder.

Such work was the function of the office of the State Engineer and Surveyor, which had responsibility for establishing boundaries of state owned land and for planning, construction, and maintenance on the state's canal system.

Conceived with the intent of establishing a waterway from New York to Pennsylvannia (the Chemung River is a tributary of the Susquehanna), the Chemung Canal was prone to problems of water supply shortages as well as flooding, largely due to the hilly terrain and flash runoffs from streams. This led to damages to canal banks and structures, and subsequent property damage. The base map, which is entitled "Map of Lands Wet by Leakage from Chemung Feeder Horseheads," might have been prepared for the Canal Appraisers, who assessed value of damages from canal breaks. The annotations were apparently made as an estimate of possible damages and cost of the proposed maintenance on the state ditch. The base map is dated 1864, two years after several locks in proximity to the ditch (numbers 50-53) were rebuilt. However, the year 1870 appears as a very small pencilled annotation on the back of the map, which indicates the map's later use. The annual report of the State Engineer and Surveyor for 1870 lists an appropriation for $4,700 for "cleaning out State ditch on farm of M. Sayre, etc" that was let on July 14, 1869.

The map shows: property lines, names of owners, and topographic symbol markings for swamplands; lines for proposed changes to the state ditch including a proposed extra ditch branching from the existing ditch and enclosing existing swampland; part of the Chemung Canal near lock 45; part of the Chemung Canal feeder near locks 51 and 52 and the adjacent waste weir; two cross sections, one "on Sayre's north line" and the other below lock 52, which would encompass property affected by the proposed new ditch; and profile of surface water in the ditch from the mitre sill of lock 45 to locks 51 and 52 at the feeder.

Blue lines on the map represent state owned land, and red lines (survey measurements) follow and enlarge the old ditch. The map is drawn within neat lines.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Restricted: Map is badly torn.Use under supervision or with assistance of archivist due to fragile condition.

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):