Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Great Embankment

This section of the Erie Canal was built upon what became know as The Great Embankment, a mile long build-up causeway over Irondequoit Valley and Creek. After the initial construction in 1822 (using only horse carts and hand shovels) the creek was routed though a culvert over 70 feet below the canal.

The canal has been enlarged and improved twice since the first construction and, of course, the embankment has also been reinforced. Today there is a roadway along the canal path that gently dips below the level of the canal surface making you realize you are lower than the tons of water and boats above... a strange feeling.

The canal has burst near here on two occasions with devastating damage. The last time was in the mid '70s. There are gates on either side of the embankment that can be closed, but not quickly, and many homes, cars and businesses were damaged by the rush canal water.


  1. The canal is a beautiful part of the county but I wonder how much longer it can endure. I never see any traffic on it and I'm not sure if it has the ability to pay for itself. The ducks and geese make good use of it, though.

  2. That's a great image of the Erie Canal, John. Great composition. I drove along parts of the Erie Canal this past summer on my way to Toronto and caught some nice glimpses, although I didn't stop to take any photos due to time constraints. I need to spend some more time in that part of New York state.