Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big doors

These are the lower gates of lock 33 on the Erie Canal. They are within easy walking distance from my place of work. In fact, if the south wall of the canal was to break, my car and likely me would be under water. There was a canal break a number of years ago a bit farther to the east, and cars and offices and homes were flooded. Fortunately that does not happen often.

These gates are the doors that allow boats and barges to enter and leave the lock. Gates are located on each end of the lock. Once the doors are closed on both ends, the water level can be raised or lowered solely by gravity.

The locks were also symbolic doors when the original canal was built in 1821. It created a doorway to the Great Lakes, and by extension, opened the continent allowing relatively fast, inexpensive and convenient travel. It is the canal that made Rochester a city, along with many other towns in its path.

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