|NE New Jersey Recreation Delaware and Raritan Canal|
The Delaware and Raritan Canal in New Jersey has two parts: the feeder canal, which extends from Trenton, N.J., (30 mi.) northwest along the Delaware River to Milford , and the main canal, which runs (32 mi.) northeast from Trenton to New Brunswick, N.J., and continues to serve as a source of drinking water for several municipalities along the way.|
The feeder was built to be 6 feet deep and 50 feet wide, while the main canal was 7 feet deep and 75 feet wide.
Water entered the feeder at an elevation of 70 feet above sea level. It passed through two locks before it joined the main canal in Trenton, about 14 feet closer to sea level. The main canal climbed through seven locks before it got to Trenton and then descended through seven more locks before reaching sea level at the Raritan River.
Canal purists insist that the feeder cannot truly be called a canal because it was built as a water conduit and not as a waterway for boats. It was, however, navigable by canal barges from the time it was built. Traffic on the feeder greatly increased after changes were made in the 1840's which allowed boats to enter at Lambertville. Coal barges coming down the Pennsylvania Canal from the Lehigh Valley were locked out of the Pennsylvania Canal at New Hope, crossed the Delaware River on a cable (being propelled by the current of the river), and were locked into the feeder canal at Lambertville.
The canal system was dug mostly by hand tools, mostly by Irish immigrants. Work began in 1830 and was completed in 1834, at an estimated cost of $2,830,000. When the canal first opened, teams of mules were used to tow canal boats through it.
Two sections of the canal were piped underground: one in Trenton when the Trenton Freeway (U.S. Route 1) was constructed in 1952, and the other in New Brunswick when the Elmer Boyd Parkway Extension (Route 18) was constructed in 1984.
4 mi from Landing Lane Bridge in New Brunswick to South Bound Brook
53 mi from South Bound Brook to Bulls Island
Mileage Table at dandrcanal.com
(2.6 mi from Mirriam Dr and Vosseller in Martinsville to Canal in S. Bound Brook)
Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park - at D&R State Park Page
On the Pennsylvania side, the Delaware Canal runs from Bristol, which is just north of Philadelphia, to Easton, about 60 miles north. It is accessible from Route 32, which follows the course of the Delaware River.
Linda Barth of Somerville has written several books on the canal and leads canal tours.