LOOKING BACK: Aqueduct facilitated canal travel in Seneca County

Have you ever been on a boat when it safely traveled on a “bridge” over another stream of water?

That is what was true for many boats traveling on the “enlarged” Erie Canal between 1862 and approximately 1918. There were a total of 32 such “aqueducts” with one — the Richmond Aqueduct — at the Seneca County-Cayuga County border. This aqueduct is also known as the Seneca River Aqueduct or the “Montezuma Aqueduct.”

An aqueduct is a water-filled bridge that carried the canal and its towpath — for the animals towing boats on the canal — over a river, a ravine, a railroad or a road. The Richmond Aqueduct carried boats on the Erie Canal across the Seneca River. Typically, the towpath was carried across an aqueduct on stone arches, while the canal itself was carried across in an adjacent heavily braced wooden trough resting on stone piles.

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