Carbondale Waymart Honesdale White Mills Hawley Barryville Pond Eddy
Sparrowbush Port Jervis Hugeunot Cuddebackville Wurtsboro Summitville Philipsport
Ellenville Port Benjamin Alligerville High Falls Rosendale and Eddyville
These are just some of the towns whose prosperity was directly affected by
the D&H Canal. In fact, many of them would not exist today if it were
not for the canal. The Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the sidewalks
of many of the major cities of the east, the uniforms of the Union soldiers
and the explosive growth of NYC in the 1800s, to name just a few things,
were all made possible by the D&H Canal.
The canal is an integral part of the history of this country and particularly
this region. Unfortunately, its importance is greatly under appreciated,
as is evidenced by the continuing destruction of what is left of it. When
we hear statements like, I dont know why someone hasnt
filled that ditch in before now, or, Why are you trying to preserve
whats left? Its been closed longer than it was open, it
becomes apparent that appreciation for how we got here is sorely lacking.
I firmly believe that if we can get people walking along the route, standing
inside a 100 long dried laid stone lock, marveling at the sheer size
of it, appreciating the effort it took to build a 30 wall straight
up from a rivers ledge, designing an ingenious rail system that used
gravity as the primary energy, and all of it without backhoes and GPS systems
and laser transits and water pumps, then interest in the history of the canal,
gravity railroad and the area will increase.
Washington Irving once said that if this canal was in Europe it would be
world famous. It isnt. It follows the valleys created by the Lackawaxen,
Upper Delaware, Neversink and Rondout rivers, not exactly populous areas.
But that should not diminish its importance. Hopefully one day soon we will
have hundreds, if not thousands, walking this route once again. Perhaps they
can bring back, not just nostalgia, but some of the prosperity that left
with the closing of the canal.
With the efforts of groups like the Upper Delaware Council and others, including
the D&H Transportation Heritage Council, it could become a reality sooner
(Excerpt of a speech given by Cliff Robinson Jr., President of
The Delaware and Hudson Canal and Gravity Railroad Conservancy to the Upper
Delaware Council in 2010.)