Research


New York State Engineer and Surveyor Engineers' Field Books Pertaining to the Construction of the State's Canal System

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series consists mainly of field books compiled in the field while surveying, constructing, or maintaining the State's canal system. Topics addressed include land ownership and property valuations; property monuments; topography; proposed layouts; bridge inspections; highway locations; daily progress; property deeds; and town and state boundary line surveys. In addition to notes and measurements, many of the field books contain inventories; reports and observations; sketches of various areas and building measurements; property valuations; and deed descriptions.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
334.4 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
approximately 1830-1960
Series Number:
B0730

Arrangement

B0730-10: Unarranged.

B0730-16: Arranged by three geographical regions then numerical by volume number.

Administrative History

The 20th-century Erie Barge Canal incorporated parts of the older system, particularly in New York State Department of Transportation Region 2. These include the Adirondack Northern Reservoirs (and the associated Black River Canal sections), the Madison County Southern Reservoirs (and the associated Chenango Canal sections) and a still-watered portion of the 19th-century Erie Canal west of New London (used as a feeder).

In 1992 the State's canal offices were transferred from the New York State Department of Transportation [NYSDOT] to the New York State Thruway Authority. In 2017, oversite of the canal offices was transferred from the Thruway to the New York Power Authority. The Thruway Authority regions were Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo. The office in Utica was closed. The records that were in the Utica State Office Building were sent to Syracuse and integrated with those of the canal office from NYSDOT Region 3 (Syracuse), which also had to relocate from the Syracuse State Office Building to Thruway headquarters nearby. The records became very scattered among canal and Thruway properties. Eventually, the field books (both Utica's and Syracuse's) were housed in the canal shops at Lysander.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists mainly of field books. Canal engineers and employees apparently used the term "field books" to refer to various types of notes, measurements, etc. compiled in the field while surveying, constructing, or maintaining the State's canal system. The field books contain notes on numerous topics such as land ownership and property valuations; spoil bank elevations; property monuments; culvert stations; prism soundings; railroad embankments; transit points; situation surveys and topography; foundation piles; original abutments; centerlines; flowlines; preliminary surveys; river straightening lines; proposed layouts; bridge inspections; highway locations; contract prices; accidents; weather and water heights; work performance and daily progress; property deeds; bridge abutments; dry river surveys; blue and red line surveys; and town and State boundary line surveys. Somewhat similar to these notes are measurements recording dimensions of buildings and canal structures; water gage readings; ditches; lock levels; sluices; cross banks; spoil sections; prism embankments; and vertical velocities of the Mohawk River.

In addition to the notes and measurements, many of the field books contain such information as inventories and sketches of electrical equipment used for specific canal contracts; engineers' observations; Barge Canal terminal foundation plans; structural specifications; ditch profiles; original, monthly, and final cross sections; original prism and surface cross sections; final accounts; and diagrams, sketches, profiles, and drawings of various areas and canal structures, some remarkably detailed.

Filed with these field books are records such as engineers' daily reports; monthly construction estimate notes; order and alteration books; sketch books; building measurements; property valuations; employment time books and work force accounts; bridge inspection notes; engineers' diaries; Barge Canal monthly contract estimates; canal collectors' toll and certificate books; and deed descriptions.

Accretion B0730-94 consists of 107 field books which have particularly useful surveys and property information relative to the Erie Canal and enlargement in the central Mohawk Valley (e.g. the Schoharie Crossing). Of special note is one field book which is a mid-nineteenth century catalog of canal manuscripts. Accretion B0730-03, consisting of approximately 514 volumes, documents maintenance of sections one and two of the Barge Canal, ca. 1906-1959. Field books in accretion B0730-10 document construction of the Champlain Barge Canal through land and river surveys and contract notes. Also documented are some of the Champlain's ancillary features such as the Junction Lock at Fort Edward, the terminals at Whitehall and Port Henry, and the Stillwater Reservoir. Field books in accretion B0730-14, numbered 52, 57, and 61, document the Stillwater Reservoir, formerly known as the Beaver River.

Accretion B0730-15 consists of a volume of field notes providing technical information on the Little Falls Canal, including measurements on embankment levels, towpaths, and levels (elevations); purchases of wood and oil for engine; miscellaneous calculations; drawing of a lock; and drawings of Glens Falls Feeder, which are inserted. Also inserted is "Docking at Albany, Memorandum of Work at Albany Little Basin, June 15, 1838," which contains information about dates that pavement was replaced, excavation occurred, dock and lock were built, and bridge was raised. Also included is data on weight of anchors; account of masons, carpenters, teams, and laborers; and materials used (e.g., sand, pine timber).

B0730-16: Many of the field books in this accretion are for the surveys of the Northern and Southern Reservoirs from the mid-19th century. The Utica field books continue well into the post-World War II period. Of particular interest is the 1830 survey for what becomes the Black River Canal (the first such formal survey) done and signed by the canal surveyor, Holmes Hutchinson.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

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

Related Information

Related Materials

Series A1078 Canal engineer's field notes for state canals and

Series B0253 Barge Canal sectional maps, contain records produced from the field books in this series

Series B1908 Card index to canal records, indexes this series

Other finding aids

B0730-16: The Utica field books are indexed by Series B2075. Portions of the Utica and Syracuse fieldbooks are indexed by Series B1908.

B0730-16: Container list is available at the repository.

Acquistion Information

B0730-10: This accretion was transferred by the canal section office at Waterford, N.Y.

B0730-15: This volume was transferred to the State Archives by the Office of General Services Bureau of Land Management in 2012 as part of a project to identify bureau records with archival value.

Access Terms

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Detailed Description

Contents Box

Accretion: B0730-16
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277663 / Box 01 Old field books 001 to 040 (Missing 15, 20, 22) 1
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277664 / Box 02 Old field books 041 to 100 (Missing 45, 47, 52, 53, 57, 59, 60, 61, 64, 65, 70, 74, 80, 84) 2
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277665 / Box 03 Old field books 101 to 133 (Complete) 3
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277666 / Box 04 Old field books 133 to 167 (Complete) 4
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277667 / Box 05 Old field books 168 to 200 (Complete) 5
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277668 / Box 06 Old field books 201 to 234 (Complete) 6
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277669 / Box 07 Old field books 235 to 271 (Complete) 7
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277670 / Box 08 Old field books, Field Books 119 to 143 (Complete with the addition of 272) 8
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277671 / Box 09 Field books 144 to 178 (Complete) 9
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277672 / Box 10 Field books 179 to 213 (Complete) 10
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277673 / Box 11 Field books 214 to 250 (Complete) 11
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277674 / Box 12 Field books 251 to 286 (Complete) 12
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277675 / Box 13 Field books 287 to 322 (Complete) 13
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277676 / Box 14 Field books 322 to 356 (Complete) 14
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277677 / Box 15 Field books 357 to 395 (Complete) 15
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277678 / Box 16 Field books 396 to 432 (Complete) 16
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277679 / Box 17 Field books 433 to 469 (Missing 452) 17
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277680 / Box 18 Field books 470 to 509A (Missing 476, 477) 18
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277681 / Box 19 Field books 510 to 542 (Missing 526, 540, 541) 19
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277682 / Box 20 Field books 543 to 580 (Complete) 20
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277683 / Box 21 Field books 581 to 597 (Complete) 21
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277684 / Box 22 Field books 598 to 614 (Complete) 22
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277685 / Box 23 Field books 615 to 648 (Missing 633, 638, 639, 640, 641, 642, 643, 644, 645, 646) 23
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277686 / Box 24 Field books 649 to 690 (Missing 663, 676, addition of unnumbered 1972 survey of Lock E17) 24
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277687 / Box 25 Field books 691 to 727 (Missing 693) 25
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277688 / Box 26 Field books 728 to 770 (Missing 737, 741) 26
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277689 / Box 27 New field books 1300-1 to 2503-8 27
Syracuse Division Field Books: RMS 277690 / Box 28 New field books 2503-10 to 4400-2 28
Syracuse Division Field Books: Box G Miscellaneous Barge Canal field books (reservoirs, Oswego Canal, Wayne County) 29
Syracuse Division Field Books: Box H Miscellaneous Barge Canal field books (reservoirs, Oswego Canal), field book of David E. Whitford with tipped in photograph of Whitford and labelled "David E. Whitford's Book" / Notes on various 19th-century structures 30
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 01 Field books, 1 to 180 31
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 02 Field books, 181 to 451 32
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 03 Field books, 452 to 639 33
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 04 Field books, 640 to 1041 34
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 05 Field books, 1042 to 1263 35
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 06 Field books, 1264 to 1442 36
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 07 Field books, 1443 to 1592 37
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 08 Field books, 1593 to 1890 38
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 09 Field books, 1891 to 2035 39
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 10 Field books, 2036 to 2076 40
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 11 Field books, 2077 to 2444 41
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 12 Field books, 2445 to 3049 42
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 13 Field books, 3050 to 3095 43
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 14 Field books, 3096 to 3142 44
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 15 Field books, 3143 to 4164 45
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 16 Field books, 4165 to 4384 46
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 17 Field books, 4386 to 4469 47
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 18 Field books, 4470 to 4875 48
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 19 Field books, 4876 to 4991 49
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 20 Field books, 4992 to 6020 50
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 21 Field books, 6021 to 6119 51
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 22 Division Engineer field books, 0 to 116, unnumbered books, index book to Division Engineer field books 52
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 23 Division Engineer field books, 117 to 168, unnumbered books 53
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 24 Field books, Contract 19/19A, B-4 to 1588 54
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 25 Field books, Contract 19/19A, 1615 to 5021 55
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 26 Field books, Contract 21, 19 to 129 56
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 27 Field books, Contract 64, 7 to 4345 57
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 28 Field books, Contract 66, 314 to 4328 58
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 29 Field books, Contract 21, 130 to 3042; Contract 67, 446 to 4963 59
Buffalo Division Field Books: Box 40 Field books, miscellaneous 60
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 1 Field books 61
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 2 Field books 62
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 3 Field books 63
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 4 Field books 64
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 5 Field books 65
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 6 Field books 66
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 8 Field books 67
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 10 Field books, has partial index volumes to the field books 68
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 12 Field books 69
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 13 Field books and Barge Canal Contract diaries 70
Fonda Section Field Books: Box 25 Section Superintendent diaries and field books diaries 71