A 25-year preservation effort in the Town of Macedon showcases an authentic and irreplaceable part of our nation’s canal heritage. Countless volunteers worked in collaboration with the Town and Village of Macedon, community and service organizations, and businesses to preserve Enlarged Erie Lock 60 and bridge abutments at Gallup’s Change Bridge #39. Once completely overgrown and forgotten by time, these historic canal sites have been transformed into a park that is accessible to visitors coming by boat, bike, footpath, and car.
Lock 60 is one of the finest surviving locks of the Enlarged Erie Canal. Opened in 1841, the lock was later doubled and lengthened to meet the demands of canal traffic. Each stone chamber is 18-feet wide by 110-feet long. The lock was abandoned in 1914 and replaced by Lock 30 of the Erie Barge Canal. Visitors can walk along the old towpath, explore the massive double lock, and touch the place where repeated use of tow ropes carved grooves in the limestone lock.
The historic canal sites are located within a one-mile stretch along the Erie Canal and Erie Canalway Trail that features numerous preserved canal structures from the 1800s. Together with nearby restored Aldrich Change Bridge and Palmrya Aqueduct at Macedon-Palmyra Park, Lock 60 and Gallup’s Change Bridge present visitors an unparalleled opportunity to envision the Erie Canal of the 1800s while also enjoying today’s canal and trail.
Testament to volunteers
The Macedon Trails Committee, under the unflagging dedication of longtime advocate Bill Ryder, shouldered the responsibility of preserving Macedon’s canal heritage and sharing it with everyone. Volunteers recalled their early days in the late 1980s when underbrush on site was so thick that they crawled on hands and knees to find the stone lock. They removed extensive vegetative growth that covered both the lock and bridge abutments, cleared and mark trails, installed a dock for boaters, and added wayfinding and interpretive signs.
Something old is new again.
Lock 60 has become a tourism destination, attracting boaters, cyclists, and canal explorers to Macedon. It also serves as a place for local residents to walk, jog, cycle, and picnic. Whether seeking solitude, beauty, history, or relaxation, visitors will find it at Lock 60. The Macedon Trails Committee developed a brochure to highlight significant canal historic sites in Macedon and works with Wayne County Tourism to promote visitation.