Superintendent and lock operator's records for Section 6 and Lock 28B of the Barge 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 series consists of records of the superintendent of Section 6 of the Barge Canal at Lyons, New York, and lock operator's records for Lock 28B in Newark, near Lyons. The records document the work routine and environment along this section of the canal system and the working relationships among the state, commercial, and private sectors in the economy. Records include statistical summaries; reports; invoices; personnel records; permits; maps; incoming/outgoing correspondence; maintenance records; lock station sheets; navigation and weekly reports.
73.5 cu. ft.
Inclusive Dates:
[ca. 1921-1952
Bulk Dates:
(bulk 1930-1950)
Series Number:


Roughly chronological and by type of material or subject.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of the records of the superintendent of Section 6 of the Barge Canal at Lyons, New York, and also lock operator's records for Lock 28B in Newark, near Lyons. Each section superintendent created and kept copies of records created by or sent to individual lock operators and maintenance staff, as well as materials on the state's canal policies and administration of all operations conducted in that section.

Lock operators kept detailed information on the daily operations of the locks, personnel actions, activities of canal users relative to the lock (including commercial shippers), and interaction with local businesses and land owners.

The superintendent's records include correspondence, statistical summaries, reports, invoices, personnel records, best registers, permits, maps, and related materials. Taken together they give a comprehensive picture of the work routine and environment along this section of the canal system, and document working relationships among the state, commercial, and private sectors in the economy.

Throughout its long history, the administration, maintenance, and recordkeeping of the state's canal system was ordered geographically by sections (included within larger regions). This series covers Section 6, and provides the most intact, extensive, and representative documentation of any section of the Barge Canal. Section 6, which included all of Wayne County, the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, the Lyons dry dock, and the Seneca River to Mays Point, contains a variety of terrain, waterways, and canal structures not typically found together within other sections of ther canal system. Consequently these records contain a wealth of material representing many facets of canal operations.

For example, since Lyons was home to one of only three dry docks in the canal system (along with Waterford and Lockport), the series constitutes a valuable source of information on the state's boat building and repair activities and on dealings with commercial shippers who used the dry dock. Selected lock operator's records were condensed or summarized before being sent to the superintendent, who may or may not have kept copies. The records of Lock 28B in this series are valuable as a comprehensive set of detailed records of daily operations at one lock.

The records include: circulars, letters, and incoming/outgoing correspondence of the section superintendent; correspondence dealing with individual locks, primarily addressed to lock operators regarding required maintenance, contractor's invoices, and other maintenance records; lock station sheets and navigation reports, including weekly/monthly tallies of traffic, detentions, delays, accidents, weather, and logs of work accomplished during the navigation season; and weekly reports of chief lock operators, and buoy light tender's daily logs and weekly reports, including statements of oil and gasoline stocks (important during the war years);

employment records, including time cards, civil service job applications and approvals for positions, injury reports, and individual time books (giving type of job, hours spent working, personal expenses, etc.); financial records, including employee travel orders, payroll summaries, expense vouchers, bill statements, and invoices for construction or maintenance materials; equipment inventories and supply orders, including maintenance and general construction work orders; reports concerning commercial shippers using the dry dock for temporary repair or storage; boat registers, listing names of boats authorized to use the canal;

permits (usually revocable) to use state-owned lands along the canal line (for timber cutting, irrigation, recreational use for summer camps, etc.), especially along the Seneca River and in the Finger Lakes region; applications (including some parcel maps) for sale of abandoned canal lands; and capsule histories and operating records of the floating (boat) maintenance plant that crossed sectional lines to serve the entire region.

B1363-06: This accretion consists entirely of water log reports for the years 1925 and 1937 for Lock 28B of the Erie Canal portion of the Barge Canal.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

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

Related Information

Related Materials

Series B1878, Superintendent and lock operator's records for Sections 1 and 2 of the Barge Canal, and series B2295, Superintendent and lock operator's records for Section 2 and Locks E-2 to E-10 and Locks C1 to C5 of the Barge Canal, contain similar records documenting the operation of the New York State Barge Canal System.

Custodial History

B1363-06: These records were transferred to the State Archives sometime in 2000 but became estranged for some unknown reason until they were identified and accessioned as part of the 11th floor renovation project.

Access Terms

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