Photos by Teo Kalinowski, volunteer
Recently our Residents got to travel back in time to the 1800’s as they took a boat ride down the Erie Canal. Our Residents boarded “The Volunteer”, a reproduction canal boat from the 1850’s, complete with mules that pulled the boat down a mile long stretch of original towpaths on the Erie Canal in the Providence Metropark in Grand Rapids, Ohio. The Volunteer is staffed by a crew of period costumed characters that really engaged our Residents and set the tone for a fun filled day in a time gone by. A high point of the canal boat ride was going through Lock #44, one of the last fully functioning 19th century limestone locks on the Erie Canal system. As the Volunteer passed through the lock the water lowered and raised the boat to travel down the next section of the canal. This trip down the Erie Canal was a lot of fun for the Residents and really put them back in time, helping them appreciate the days that their ancestors would have lived in.
The Erie Canal was constructed in the 1820’s and early 1830’s and connected Akron, Ohio on the Cuyahoga River with the Ohio River near Portsmouth, Ohio, and then continued on into other canal systems in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Before the days of modern roads and railroads, most all freight and passenger travel was completed on this canal system. Which functioned up until the 1860’s when railroads were constructed across Ohio. Now this stretch of the Erie Canal is maintained by the State and our local Metropark systems.