Richmond Aqueduct

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012


There's been been plenty of activity in Montezuma this winter to help raise some money for the park and develop a new trail that uncovers unseen parts of the original Clinton's Ditch. The work done  cleared the way for public access to the Cayuga-Seneca Lock 11 site now on the west side (towpath side) of the C&S only accessible from private land before. Much thanks is given to Bill Breen for the suggestion to raise money through logging some of the prime walnut trees we have in the area. The logging project was contracted by the town with William Haessner Logging who as part of the contract agreed to help create a trail exposing the part of Clinton's Ditch that joined into the C&S Canal here in Montezuma. Working with Bill, was Forester Doug Brico, who marked trees necessary for removal due to the state of maturity, disease or aspect making it undesirable as a park type tree.

On January 6, 2012, Bill Haessner drops the first tree and forges through the area east of Chapman Road and the drydock area. This begins opening up a new trail along Clinton's Ditch built here 1819.
The horse power of Bill's skidder is a sharp contrast to the axes, horses and stump pullers that would have been used to clear the land for the canal originally.
On a walk on January 10, 2012, Clinton's Ditch is clearly seen from  the new trail opened up.

On January 21, 2012 my husband, Stan and I walked the newly cleared trail all the way to the C&S Canal and Lock 11. Clinton's Ditch is to the right of the trail.

C&S Lock 11 is now clearly visible from the west side of the newly formed trail.  The logging project gave public access to the site only before seen with permission through private owner's land.
The work on the enlarged Erie made it necessary to construct a lock at the junction of the C&S and the Erie in Montezuma. During the Clinton’s Ditch era both canals were at the same elevation and the Cayuga merely intersected with the Erie. When the Erie was raised to cross the Seneca River on an aqueduct, it was three feet higher then the C&S. The new lock, C&S Lock 11, was built just to the south of this junction, southwest of the present-day firehouse location. Cayuga-Seneca Lock 11 was put in use in 1853 and its remains are well intact today.

This early photo is near the site of the junction of the Erie and C&S Canals and Lock 11.    

By the end of January. Bill had finished the project, and we now can look forward to further develop the trail this Spring.