Richmond Aqueduct

Richmond Aqueduct
Second Largest Aqueduct Built on the Enlarged Erie Canal (1856-1917)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Historic sites added to Parkland

Two important parcels of property have been recently acquired by the Town of Montezuma that will be included with Heritage Park project. They are significant historic sites that tell the story of the town's Erie Canal history.

Cayuga County transferred a 23-acre parcel of land west of the former Cayuga-Seneca Canal and along the south side of the former Erie Canal. The parcel is the site of the former Meil's Drydock which was first started by William Thorn and Joshua Martin in 1860.  The drydock provided a valuable service to canal business where boats were built, refurbished and repaired. The buildings in the background of the photograph above would have provided the necessary space for a  blacksmith to fashion the metal parts, bolts and nails; a saw mill to cut beams and planks, and for offices and storehouses.  Later in 1894 the business was purchased by George Meil of Veronia, NY.  Fifteen men were employed to repair boats,  build steamers and flag boats for use in the harvest of flag (cattails) in the swamps.

The other important piece of property purchased by the town is north of the present-day firehouse and at the entrance to the main trail head and former towpath of the Erie Canal. The Exchange Hotel in the photograph to the right was located here. It also had a stable to hold extra teams for the line boat compaines. Town Board meetings and elections were once held here. Built circa 1830, it burned to the ground on June 23, 1918, one of the oldest hotels in the village and on the Erie Canal.

This important site is near where the Cayuga section of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal opened in 1828 connecting with the Erie Canal. A crossover bridge allowed the mules and crews to move from the path along the Erie Canal to the Cayuga Canal. This was an important junction where boats headed either east to Albany or west to Buffalo as well as south to Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. 

1 comment:

  1. Cheryl, I am happy to discover your blog! I look forward to reading more about the plans for a park.