Old Stuff But Not Traffic Signals

I’ve always had a thing for old traffic signals, but I also enjoy seeing anything that’s really old.

I think about how they completed a project the size of the original Erie Canal and even how they did the excavation of it here in 1817. As Dale Earnhardt Jr. calls it, it’s “tangible history” which means something old that you can actually see and touch.


Erie Canal starting point of construction in Rome, New York
Erie Canal starting point of construction in Rome, New York

The Erie Canal ran through my area and actually the initial excavation in 1817 started right here in Rome, NY. There’s not much left to the original canal but still in spots you can see a few glimpses of it. New York has been on a many years long construction of a pathway along most of the path. Some places it actually follows along the old Erie Canal and you are walking or biking on the old towpath. So I decided that instead of being stuck inside on a decent day, i’d dust off my bike and take a ride on the trail in Rome. This part goes from Rome to the hamlet of Stacy’s Basin. It’s approx 15 miles and there’s no way i’d be doing that anytime soon.


Erie Canal trail sign
Erie Canal trail sign
Erie Canal trail sign

The Canal Way Trail goes through Rome, NY. There are still a lot of the path on city streets since the old canal was filled in and is a main road now, so I went to the area of the old Erie Canal Village and started there and headed south on New York State Route 46. The Erie Canal Village was a nice place to go but has been closed for many years. It is showing signs of life with a new owner so we’ll see if it makes it back again so you can visit it.

Many of the village’s historic buildings have been transported to the site from elsewhere in the area. The site itself is also historic: It’s the spot where, in 1817, the first shovel of dirt was turned to dig the Erie Canal, which at that point was often referred to sarcastically as “Clinton’s Ditch” after New York governor DeWitt Clinton. The canal went on to become a gateway to the West.

Bridge at Erie Canal Village over the original path of the Erie Canal
Bridge at Erie Canal Village over the original path of the Erie Canal
Original Erie Canal Towpath
Original Erie Canal Towpath
Old building at Erie Canal Village

Erie Canal Pathway near Rome, NY

Being quite the novice bike rider, I didn’t push my luck and trying to go too far my first time out. I haven’t ridden my bike in years so thats the reason.

The pathway here is really nice. It’s wide and really easy to ride. Being mostly flat also, that is good for someone who hasn’t rode on a bike in many years. I believe this path is also part of a snowmobile trail in winter that goes from south of Rome to the trails to the north.

Old Erie Canal culvert #15 - Fort Bull Culvert
Old Erie Canal culvert #15 – Fort Bull Culvert
Old Erie Canal culvert #15 - Fort Bull Culvert
Old Erie Canal culvert #15 – Fort Bull Culvert

This stuff always amazes me. The craftsmanship and precision of someone building this bridge in the 1800’s just amazes me. You won’t see many things built now that can withstand the test of time like this. This is just south of the Erie Canal Village and not too far from the location that was once Fort Bull, an important Fort during the French and Indian War.


Washed out old culvert along Rt. 46
Washed out culvert along Rt. 46
One of the old canal locks near Erie Canal Village
One of the old canal locks near Erie Canal Village

It was a fun way to get out and see some old stuff, which, you know, I like a lot. This pathway going south out of rome also has many very old bridges that cross the canal from the many side roads along Rt. 46 going south out of Rome. They are all in horrible shape and each has a posted weight limit seeing as though they were built in the era of the Model T which doesn’t weigh as much as cars and trucks now a days. They are still there holding on to their history though and thats all that matters to me.

Hopefully now that the weather is finally taking a turn for the better and it’s not going to snow anymore maybe (there was accumulating snow here on May 9th, 10th and 12th) so I can get out on the bike again and explore and document more cool places around here besides old traffic lights.

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