PACNY At The Camillus Erie Canal Park, 24 August 2014

It was a beautiful day to take a ride on The Erie Canal!


PACNY joined forces with the Camillus Erie Canal Park on Sunday, August 24 to provide a tour of the canal. Twelve of us met at the park at 2 p.m., and started with a boat ride through the peaceful waters of the canal out to the aqueduct, a bridge that carries the canal over Nine Mile Creek. Originally built in 1844, it is the only restored navigable aqueduct in New York. The aqueduct recently underwent a $2 million restoration and was given a PACNY award for the importance of restoring this valuable piece of Erie Canal history.


Our guide for the boat tour was Dave Beebe who, with his wife Liz, has spearheaded the preservation of this section of the canal in Camillus. Following the boat tour, Liz Beebe gave us an inside look at the challenges and triumphs that they have had in their efforts to preserve important parts of the local canal history, including a set of lock gates from nearby Gear’s Lock, an original Locktenders House in Jordan, and a lifeboat from the famous Day Peckinpaugh, which was the first motorized boat designed specifically for the enlarged Barge Canal in 1921.


It was a fun and fascinating way to spend a beautiful summer afternoon, and to hear about more efforts to preserve the important history of Central New York.

All photos by Bruce Harvey.

Come Join PACNY For A Summer Afternoon On The Erie Canal!

PACNY has arranged for a special tour of the Erie Canal Park and Aqueduct in Camillus on Sunday, August 24. We will take a boat ride to see the aqueduct beginning at 2 p.m. and then return to shore for a tour of the museum, with refreshments to follow. The cost is $8 for PACNY members and $10 for non-members. This is a family friendly event and kids are free!


The Erie Canal is one of Central New York’s most important historic features, the engineering breakthrough and transportation marvel that made possible so much of the development in this region. One of the most challenging engineering feats was to have the Erie Canal cross the various rivers and creeks. The present aqueduct in Camillus was built in 1844, using limestone quarried locally at Split Rock, and served as a bridge that carried canal boats over and across Nine Mile Creek. An engineering landmark and a place of great beauty, it was lovingly restored in 2009 and received an award from PACNY.

This will be a fascinating glimpse into Central New York’s Erie Canal heritage, and a wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon. We hope you will come with PACNY as we explore this remarkable structure.

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“The Seceders” – Upcoming Lecture By Author Alethea Connolly On Saturday, 26 July 2014

An upcoming lecture of historical interest to Central New York has been announced on The New York History Blog and is being reproduced in part here. For more information about the lecture (and to learn more from The NY History Blog), see the official announcement at:

Seceder-Cover-JPEGAfter six years of research Alethea “Lee” Connolly has published her book on “forgotten trailblazers” in early 19th Century Central New York. Connolly will present her research on her book The Seceders: Religious Conviction & the Abolitionist Movement in the Town of Manlius, 1834-1844 at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 26, 2014 at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum at 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro NY 13134.

As Barbara S. Rivette, Manlius Town Historian, states “The network of families and church affiliations involved in The Seceders spread through Canastota, Clockville, and Peterboro.” Seceders, like early Manlius settler Elijah Bailey, “believed the church had veered off the simple path of Bible religion into pride and folly.”

The public is encouraged to attend. Admission is three dollars for adults and free for students (K – College).

The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark and the Peterboro Mercantile, is open from 1 – 5 pm on July 26. For more information, contact and 315-684-3262.