Research


Middle and Western Division survey maps for the proposed 1895 Erie Canal enlargement

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:
These survey maps for proposed canal improvements of Erie, Champlain, and Oswego canals were particularly important for their representation of State-owned land in light of land appropriation needs and the damages that would occur during canal improvement and repair.. Maps show measurements of canal length; town, city, and county lines; name of some land owners, or parcel numbers, of property adjacent to the canal; e buildings along the canal route, parapets, aqueducts, and other related structures.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
ca. 32 cu. ft.(39 rolls consisting of 39 maps) :col., ink, manuscript, some annotated ;approximately 117 x 1,463 cm or longer.
Inclusive Dates:
[ca. 1895-1900
Series Number:
B1210

Arrangement

Arranged by name of canal and therein geographically.

Scope and Content Note

The series contains survey maps of the Middle and Western divisions of the Erie Canal (including the Oswego Canal and the Cayuga and Seneca Canal) for the proposed "Nine Million Dollar" canal improvement of 1895. Chapter 79 of the Laws of the 1895 proposed the enlargement and improvement of the Erie, Champlain, and Oswego canals; its provisions were ratified by voters in the general election of November 1895.

Work on the canals entailed deepening them (by raising the banks whenever practicable), lengthening or improving locks, and providing machinery for drawing boats into the improved locks and for building vertical stone walls where necessary. All work was to be done in accordance with plans, specifications, and estimates prepared by the State Engineer and Surveyor. In January 1896 work on the surveys for the canal improvements was begun, and these maps are apparently the results of those surveys.

Survey maps formed the basis for many subsequent maps. In particular these maps were made in order to give the most accurate representation of state owned land. This was important in light of the land appropriation needs and the damage that would naturally be expected during canal improvement and repair. Consequently the maps would be updated over time, as is apparent in this series, and the best available measurements were needed.

The maps are hand drawn and the colored lines that are used conform to standard canal surveying practice. The red line designates the inner line of the towpath, upon which all the measurements in the direction of the length of the canal were made. On some maps separate small drawings show ties to red line offsets at specific points. These are configured or triangulated to nails placed in telephone poles or elm trees. The space enclosed by blue lines represents the portion of land belonging to the state. Dotted blue lines represent the historic alignment of the old canal; solid black lines represent the new canal alignment. Measurements are especially detailed at points of land curvature, and therefore they are more closely clustered on the curves of the canal than on the straightaways.

Information ancillary to the measurements is minimal, but generally includes: town, county, and city lines; name of some owners of property adjacent to the canal, or sometimes parcel numbers; outlines of some buildings along the route, shaded in various colors and sometimes accompanied by the name of a specific company or owner; natural bodies of water or canal feeders that cross the canal; locks, parapets, aqueducts and other related structures; sometimes annotations designating land appropriations that occurred after the maps were produced, including the name of land owner, appropriation number, and date (usually ca. 1900); and sometimes field book numbers, apparently referring to other surveys.

Maps cover the Middle (28 rolls) and Western (11 rolls) divisions of the Erie Canal, with the Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals considered a part of the Middle Division. Most maps are identified on the back edge of the roll, usually as "blue line" maps of a particular canal and/or section. The area covered by the maps is also usually given here, as is the scale, which varies. The most common scales are one inch equal to 40 feet, or one inch equal to 100 feet. Unfortunately, dirt and age have considerably obscured this handwritten information and none, except for directional symbols, appears on the face of the maps. Some of the information was apparently added at a later date, probably to aid identification. Most maps are drawn in ink, although a few are sketched in pencil and appear to be preliminary in nature. Annotations present evidence that these maps were updated beyond the time of their immediate creation, up to 1900.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Restricted: material extremely fragile ;use under supervision or with assistance of archivist due to fragile condition.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series 14068, Erie and Champlain Topographical Maps, apparently covers Eastern Division surveys not found in this series.

Other finding aids

Container list.

Access Terms

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Detailed Description

Dates Contents Roll

Accretion: B1210-85
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, West Genesse to Willis Ave., Study 40' scale, (See Box 20) 1
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Blue line through Syracuse, unfinished, 100' scale 2
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Blue line through Syracuse, "Olcott's Map" 3
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Location Map for Cleaning Ditches on Superintendent's Section # 5 4
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Butternut Creek Blue Line 5
1895 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, Willis Ave. to Lock 50 (Syracuse) circa 1895, 40' scale 6
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, Two Sections: 1) Wayne County Line to Centerport Road Bridge, 100' scale, 2) DeWitt-Manlius Line to Syracuse 7
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Cayuga to Demonts Bridge, Cayuga-Seneca Blue Line Sheet 3, 100' scale 8
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, Solvay - Lock 50, unfinished, 100' scale 9
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Two Sections: 1) Memphis to Centerport, 100' scale, 2) Madison-Onondaga Co. Line to Burdick's Bridge 10
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - (#5) Float Bridge between Long [?] Seneca River - this end of [?]…Delaware Bridge 11
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - (#8) Syracuse Terminal: Right of Way, Brine Pipe Line, Pole Line, Lot Line, Salt Wells 12
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, Lock 50 to Camillus, unfinished, 100' Scale 13
1895 Oswego Canal, Middle Division - Resurvey circa1895 14
1895-1901 Oswego Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, North & Side Cut Oswego Canal Syracuse, 100' scale 15
1895-1901 Oswego Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, From 3 Rivers to Mud Lock 16
1895-1901 Oswego Canal, Middle Division - Canal from Old Guard Lock #3, North (B-1) 17
1895-1901 Oswego Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, (#5) Syracuse to City Line, City Line to Mud Lock (Not Used), 100' scale 18
1895-1901 Oswego Canal, Middle Division - Two Sections: 1) Oswego Canal Survey, 1895-1896, 2) Oswego Canal, Section 2 - Phoenix to Oswego, c.1895 (See Box 22) 19
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line Study, Willis Ave., 40' scale (See Box 1) 20
1895-1901 Cayuga-Seneca, Middle Division - Blue Line, Montezuma (6) to Cayuga [sheet 2] 100' scale 21
1895-1901 Oswego Canal, Middle Division - Blue Line, Fulton-Phoenix (B-1), 1" equals 100' Scale (See Box 19) 22
1895-1901 Cayuga-Seneca, Middle Division - Blue Line, Village of Waterloo 23
1895-1901 Cayuga-Seneca, Middle Division - Town of Fayette to Geneva, 100' scale 24
1895-1901 Cayuga-Seneca, Middle Division - Blue Line, Montezuma to Cayuga, [sheet 1] 100' scale 25
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Hartland Survey (Old), 18 Mile Creek, #106 26
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 13, Lock #56 to Bridge #1 27
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 14, Lock #56 to Macedon Lock #61 28
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 15, Macedon near Bridge #40 to Lock #62 near Rochester 29
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 16, Rowe Street Bridge to Lock #62 30
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 17, Rowe Street Bridge to Cooley Basin Bridge 31
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 18, Contract #11 32
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 18, Contract #10-11, Cooley Basin to Bridge #125 33
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 19, Bridge #142 - #125 34
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 20, Cady's Bridge # 160 to Shelby Basin Bridge #142 35
1895-1901 Erie Canal, Western Division - Section 21, Prospect Street Bridge #164½ to Bush Bridge #175 36