Amherst Railway Society - meeting - September, 2017Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
New Haven and Northampton Canal GreenwayIn the early 1800s, water was the most efficient form of overland transportation - flat, smooth, and faster than travel on rough roads. However, natural waterways did not always go where transportation was needed. The solution? - canals. In the early 19th century, many canal projects were designed and constructed. One of those projects was the New Haven & Northampton Canal, intended to connect the interior of western New England with Long Island Sound at New Haven, Connecticut, and ultimately extend through Vermont all the way to the Saint Lawrence River. Starting at Congamond Lake in Southwick, Massachusetts (elevation 220 feet) in 1825, the workers quickly made their way south to New Haven. The first section of the canal included 28 locks to accommodate the elevation change. The second section of the canal went north from Southwick to Northampton, Massachusetts - up another 102 feet, using 32 locks. However, just as the canal project was preparing to go further north, along came the railroads. Steel rails and steam locomotives ushered in an even more efficient transportation system, which brought the canal projects to an end. On Wednesday, September 13, author and historian Bob Madison will recount the development of the canal, the transition to the New Haven & Northampton Railroad, and ultimately to the New Haven & Northampton Canal Greenway, a developing biking/hiking trail. Bob is the author of New Haven & Northampton Canal Greenway. Bob is a retired finance manager. Amherst Railway Society meetings are open to the public.