National Canal Museum Video History – 1, Delaware Canal

Videographer: William W. Chambers
Video date: 1930
Video location: Delaware Canal from Smithton to Point Pleasant and Lumberville
Video length: 20 minutes
Time span: 1930

Summary: This video by Chambers shows the canal boats and mules at work, as well as several locks in action raising and lowering boats. This is one of two silent films from the NCM that are valuable records of canal life its last years. (Note that the film’s showing of locks is not continual in one direction.)


Time markers:
00:00 – introduction
00:20 – mules pulling a boat on the canal
00:44 – boat traversing Treasure Island lock
02:13 – lock 17, able to accommodate two boats
04:32 – Pt. Pleasant overflow, where some water could flow into the Delaware River; note the mules walking through the water
05:09 – Tohickon Creek aqueduct and Pt. Pleasant lock
06:55 – canal near Lumberville at sunset, the Delaware River, 1920s automobiles on River Rd
10:24 – brief shot of the Doylestown Nature Club’s boat party outing
11:37 – two boats passing, northbound is empty, southbound is full
12:43 – Treasure Island Lock where Boy Scouts learned to swim
13:13 – lock keeper Harry Lewis (lock now called Lewis Lock)
14:43 – lock #17 at Smithtown, two boats being raised (note boatman ducking under bridge); second unknown lock
16:47 – 1,250,000 tons of coal shipped in 1860, up to 3,000 on canal causing jams between locks
17:41 – tight aqueduct above Treasure Island; empty boat going north, full going south
18:42 – camel back bridge and an aqueduct

National Canal Museum Video History 2, Canals and Artists

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