Connecticut March 15, 2018
The One Park In Connecticut Where You Can Explore The Remnants Of Connecticut’s Canal System
Before the days of cars, buses, and trains, transportation occurred on waterways. And if there wasn’t a substantial river available, canals were built between commercial ports and inland settlements. In Connecticut, there is one relic of our canal history that has been preserved. Lock 12 Historical Park gives us a glimpse into a time long forgotten.
Lock 12 Historical Park is located in Cheshire and lies along the Farmington Canal State Park Trail that runs for 5.5 miles between Hamden and Cheshire.
The canal itself was dug by Irish immigrants using shovels, wheelbarrows, and horse drawn carts, beginning in 1825. The project took ten years to complete. The Farmington Canal when finished stretched 80 miles from the Long Island Sound in New Haven all the way to the Connecticut River in Northhampton, Massachusetts.
The boats were pulled by horses that labored along the dirt path next to the canal. The canal had 28 locks that would move the boats from one elevation to the next. The locks were 75 feet long and 12 feet wide and constructed of heavy stone on the sides and hefty timber doors on each end.
The lock system was quite a feat of engineering for its time. A boat would come into the lock and the gates would close. If the boat was moving upstream, the lock would be filled with water to raise it to the next level and if the boat was traveling downstream, water would be drained. Each lock was 15 feet in height.
By the mid 1800s, canal service had been phased out and replaced by a railroad. In the 1980s the railroad line was no longer in use and now is part of the East Coast Greenway rails to trails project.
The Lock 12 Historical Park has the only fully intact canal lock that remains. The park also includes a small museum with artifacts related to the canal and a lock keeper's house. There is also a picnic area.
The path through the park is paved making it a wonderful spot for walking, biking, or skating. The park is handicap accessible.
The Lock 12 Historical Park can be found at 487 N. Brooksvale Rd., Cheshire, CT.
Have you ever taken a trip to Lock 12 Historical Park? What where your experiences at this beautiful place of history?
If you love exploring Connecticut’s past, plan a trip to
this abandoned mining town in Roxbury.