Following the Flow - Stop 3 Centerport Aqueduct

A CanalTowners Event An aqueduct is a bridge of water that carries the canal over a dip in the landscape. The dip can be created by a stream, a river, or a low spot such as a valley. The canal water was contained in a wooden trough that was supported by the stone piers. The photos below shows the recently rebuilt Camillus Aqueduct. (The railing to the left of the canal water marks the structure, as do the stones to the right of the water.) At this point the canal is crossing over a large stream. As the canal passes over the stream, the earthen canal banks are replaced by wooden walls and stone piers. This wall can be seen in the second photo. During the canal era, the wood used was not treated in any way, and it rotted away within 8 to 10 years. When the wood reached a point where it could no longer be patched, it was replaced during the winter months. Over the years since the canal was closed down, the wood has rotted away, leaving the stonework that you see today. There were 33 aqueducts on the enlarged Erie. The Centerport Aqueduct crossed Cold Spring Brook, which gives it its other name, the Cold Spring Aqueduct. At 75 feet 6 inches long, it is the 8th smallest on the Erie. It was completed in 1857 at a cost of $36,000. This aqueduct and the entire section of canal from Port Byron to Jordan was not opened until 1858, waiting on a dispute over a route change in Port Byron. Until this matter was settled, the canal commissioners were able to use the original canal by temporarily raising and widening it. This stopgap measure limited the draft of boats, harming the business of boating along the entire canal. The first canal passed to the south of this place. A bit of the first canal can be seen on the 1890’s map

on the next page. The first canal crossed this stream on its own aqueduct which has been noted on the map. The stream originally ran through the CD structure and on to the north. The location of the new enlarged aqueduct was 1500 feet to the east of the original aqueduct and stream. Once the aqueduct was finished, the route of the stream was moved rerouted to flow through it. With the stream moved, the new enlarged canal could be built. This was all part of a straightening plan that removed many of the twists built into the first canal. There was once a bridge over the canal just east of the aqueduct. This can be seen in the stonework walls and the stones in the grass. As with all canal bridges, the bridge had to be long enough to cross both the canal and the towing path. Note that this aqueduct uses a spillway above the dam to create a pool of still water. This was built to help settle out sediment before it reached the aqueduct. Then as the water flowed over the dam, it was suppose to help flush out the sediment loads under the structure. Over the years, the pool has filled in and the sediment load now builds between the piers. This structure was completely cleaned out about 15 years ago (1995). Since then the sediment load has been replaced by high water events. Aqueduct Park was first conceived of in the late 1950’s, when the State DOT forces began to clear brush from around the aqueduct. In 1960, the Weedsport Lions Club joined the effort to create a park / historical area. The effort continued throughout the 1960’s and early 70’s. The park was dedicated on May 31, 1975. Since then the war memorial has been added to remember those who have fought through the years.

Parking Lot

EC aqueduct

CD aqueduct

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