|Get Involved: National Register Listing Update|
Laura Black and Jami Babb, two National Park Service historians with the Historic American Engineering Record, spent the summer of 2009 documenting more than 250 canal structures and sites to complete a critical part of the nomination of New York’s Barge Canal system to the National Register of Historic Places.
The team visited, photographed, and wrote descriptions of every lock, lift bridge, guard gate, building, and dry dock on the four operating branches of the canal system.
Before the survey, some assumed that the system's fifty-seven locks were largely identical but: “The only thing that was really consistent was the paint scheme,” remarked Black, who noted a surprising variety of design elements and engineering differences at various locations. “The exceptional care taken by Canal Corporation staff at each of the locks and the genuine hospitality of the people we met were outstanding.”
Data from the survey must now be summarized and compiled to support the National Register nomination. Black and Babb’s fieldwork, combined with GIS mapping and archival research at the New York State Archives and Canal Corporation offices, will result in a comprehensive list of historic features throughout the system. Written reports for each site will eventually be housed at the Library of Congress for permanent care and public access.