Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Photo Essay: Part 3- On Our Way to the Lake

As time slides along its inexorable path, we humans do not realize the history we may witness, and which we fail to record. The events of today are the history of tomorrow but we do not recognize it until much later.
Thus begins the preface to a very good book called The Champlain Canal: Mules to Tugboats by Captain Fred G. Godfrey. I bought this book at the history fair last fall. The statement is very true from my point of view. I hope this blog, keeping my diary, & introducing you & my daughter to local history are ways of documenting that history that night be lost

 The finale of our Champlain Barge Canal excursion happened in late October. Luckily the weather cooperated on all those Mondays.

Sediment dredged from the Hudson River is placed in these vessels^

The image above is slightly north of Lock 7 in Fort Edward, NY. This is where the Champlain Barge Canal leaves the Hudson River entirely behind on its path to Lake Champlain.

Historic marker at the aqueduct in Fort Edward, NY

The aqueduct in Fort Edward, just north of the Old Fort House, on the opposite side of US Route 4 is really beautiful, even if dilapidated. Further north there is an apartment building that used to house mules for changing out.

Part of the old aqueduct & junction locks in Fort Edward, NY

Panoramic view of lock 8 on the Champlain Barge Canal in Fort Edward*

Fiona took these shots with a panoramic feature on her iPod. She wanted to use them in her photo essay, but we couldn't get a decent print copy.

Panoramic view of Lock 9 on the Champlain Barge Canal in Smith's Basin*

Canal park- Old locks in Fort Ann, NY

The doors of the lock at Lock 10 in Comstock*

Lock 10 is located in Comstock, NY. In the photograph below you can see the red barn and other buildings of the Washington Correctional Facility compound. My father, Iliff W. Dolton, Jr. worked at this NY State medium-security prison for over 20 years.

Washington Correctional Facility as seen from Lock 10*

Lock 12 of the Champlain Barge Canal is in Whitehall, NY & is at the base of Lake Champlain. During the summer months it can be quite busy, but it was pretty quiet with the spent fall foliage. (Did you notice? There is no Lock 11. It was deemed unnecessary & never built.)

NY State & NY Canal Corporation flags fly over Lock 12

Sign for safety at Champlain Barge Canal Lock 12 in Whitehall, NY

By the time we hit the last lock in Whitehall, NY we were a bit silly. Well, I guess we tend to be a bit silly most of the time, especially when we are traveling, & singing in the car.

Fiona caught me acting goofy at Lock 12*

Fiona took a selfie at Lock 12*

Thank you for coming on Fiona & I on our adventure. I hope you plan one soon!

* These photographs were taken by Fiona A. Dolton-Coons on her iPod 5 in October 2013. None of these were used in her final photo essay for JAC.

^This photograph was taken Fiona A. Dolton-Coons on her iPod 5 in October 2013. It was used in her final photo essay for JAC.

*** UPDATE: On March 1, 2014, Fiona was awarded First Place in the Junior American Citizens Photo Essay "Honoring Our Heritage" by the NY State DAR. ***

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Photo Essay: Part Two- Reminiscing Lock 6

Fiona & I continued our little Monday adventures around the Champlain Canal, up & down US Route 4. We watched the dredging near our house, just below Lock 6. The sound of the machines groaning through the valley, especially at night. I told her a bit about my life growing up along the Hudson.

Looking south toward Lock 6 from one of the bridges
 I'm not sure if it was this one or the one further north, but during the summer local kids, mostly boys, would jump off the bridge into the canal below. This part of the Hudson is not safe to swim in, especially with the dredging. Also, this part of the canal is lined with large pieces of cut stone. No swimming, or diving is allowed in the canal.

Lock 6 filling up
When my younger sister, Heather, & I were little, our mom & aunt used to bicycle us over to the canal from our house about 1/2 a mile away. One day a barge was going through the lock & we got to see the whole thing. The barge pull in, the water drain out with the barge slowly going down, the doors open, & the barge spill out into the Hudson headed south. One of the crew members threw up apples to us.

Looking north from Lock 6 in Fort Miller, NY

Full lock waiting for the down river arrival of a boat

Safety warnings so people don't fall in the canal

Cleengineering boat going through Champlain Canal Lock 6

Lock 6 has emptied and doors are opening to let out the southbound boat

Looking south from Lock 6- The Point is on the right
 In the image above, just around the corner from where the concrete ends in the upper right, there is a shale ledge called The Point. People used to go out there at night & party. But in the summers of 1985 & 1986, when we were really into INXS, Breathe, & Bryan Adams (sometimes we brought our cassette players), my little sister & I, & sometimes our friends, would go out there & wade into the Hudson. We soon realized that barefoot was a bad idea, so we wore our jelly shoes. Again, not a great idea because of the water pollution, but there is also a nasty current nearby.

Southbound boat is leaving Lock 6

The above is video my daughter, Fiona, shot while working on her photo essay. It shows Lock 6 closing its doors.

Dredging is underway south of Lock 6

Crocker's Reef Guard gate north of Lock 6
 When I was finally able to ride my bike well enough, I was allowed to ride along US Route 4 as far as what we called the "drop gate." It is actually called a guard gate, that helps protect the canal from flooding & snow melt in the spring.

Looking north from the Guard Gate toward Fort Edward

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Photo Essay: Part One- Taking a different perspective

Every year the Daughters of the American Revolution offer educational programs & contests. This year I insisted that my daughter, Fiona (12), participate. She groaned, but I told her she could take pictures with her ipod & submit a photo essay for the contest. This got her attention. There is little she likes more (maybe One Direction, Little Mix, & 5 Seconds of Summer) than taking pics with her ipod.

Over the course of 5 separate Mondays she & I drove the length of the Champlain Canal taking photographs of the locks for the Junior American Citizens art contest. Fiona had to take her own photographs, which she did. I took my own & will share some of them here. I am really glad I insisted she do this because we had a lot of fun together, riding in the car, signing One Direction songs, getting "lost" in our search for Lock 1 at Waterford, exploring local history, & just being together.

Fiona at Lock 1- Champlain Canal, Waterford, NY

Lock 2- Champlain Canal between Waterford and Mechanicville

Lock 3- Champlain Canal, Mechanicville, NY

Fiona is king of the world- Lock 4- Champlain Canal, Stillwater, NY

Fiona snapping a pic- Lock 5- Champlain Canal, Schuylerville, NY

Fiona posing- Lock 12- Old Champlain Canal, Greenwich, NY

Trees growing through the masonry at Old Champlain Canal Lock 12

Old Champlain Canal- Lock 12

Historic marker at Lock 6- Champlain Canal, Fort Miller, NY

Fiona watching the doors open for a boat- Lock 6- Champlain Canal, Fort Miller, NY

Fiona & me basking in the September sun at Lock 6- 2013

Surprise! Great rest area along the canal north of Lock 6

All images by Tisha Dolton, Historian September-October 2013

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Keeping a diary- 2014 & 1936

Remember when I blogged about diaries & journals last year? (If you don't, I understand. Just click that link I put in 2 sentences ago & it will take you to the post.) Well, I have decided to get back to my diary with the help of my great-grandmother Irene Smith Dolton. I never knew her because she was born around 1880 & died a few years before I came into the world. Reading her diary is like a little glimpse into her life in Ludlowville (Town of Lansing), plus it has sparked conversations with my dad about his family.

But, you may be wondering how Irene is helping me get back on track with my diary. A few years ago, I thought it a great idea to post her diary entries in a blog. I had read another blog (which I can't seem to find now because there are many more out there) about a soldier in WWI. The ancestor was posting daily as if the soldier were writing them now. I thought I could do the same because I have one entire year, 1936, & no more. This would only be a year long commitment. So, now as I post one of Irene's entries every day, I then write in my diary. Hopefully, this will keep me on track for all of 2014 while I visit my great-grandmother in 1936.

Irene Smith Dolton's diary from 1936

If you are interested in reading the 1936 Dairy of Irene Smith Dolton, here is the link for the 1st entry. They are rather short, so have a glance.