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1824 Pennsylvania Canal Surveys

Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

July 28, 1824

It is generally known that during the last session of the Pennsylvania Legislature a board of Commissioners was constituted; for the purpose of making surveys, with a view to the opening of canal communications through various parts of that state. It has been already announced that the first object which engaged the attention of the Commissioners was the survey of the route of a canal to connect to waters of the Susquehanna with those of the Schuylkill, through the counties of Lancaster and Chester. A paragraph in the Lancaster Gazette informs us that it is believed the line of the proposed canal will not be able to approach nearer to the city of Lancaster than Hinkletown or Ephrata. The Commissioners find it impracticable to descend into the valley of Lancaster, but are forced, after passing the Gap, to keep the high ground and after crossing the Pequa, to run a North and North East course until they arrive near Church town, and after crossing the Conestogo, to skirt the iron ridge westwardly leaving New Holland on their left. At one or two points, it is supposed they will not be more than 14 or 15 miles distant from the Union Canal. The object appears to be to obtain an extensive summit level, with a plentiful supply of water, and to enter the Susquehanna as high up as possible. We understand the level gained will be upwards of 30 miles in extent, without a lock; that the supply of water is abundant, and though the route is somewhat circuitous and extensive, it is the only course that can be adopted, unless descending by the valley of the Conestogo, with any prospect of success. - Balt. Amer.


Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

August 18 1824

West Chester, Aug. 4

Having been on business, last week, at Churchtown, I had the pleasure of seeing and conversing with the Canal commissioners. Mr. Treziyulny, who is very sanguine of success, gave me a very flattering account of the route they are now exploring. He stated there would be a summit level of about 50 miles, which would command such a quantity of water, that from this level to Philadelphia on the eastern section, and from it to near Harrisburg on the western section, where he supposes it will fall into the Susquehanna, there would be no need to take in, as feeders, any of the streams over which the canal will pass. The ground on the route is extremely favourable to speedy excavation and will contain the water well. It is supposed a great part of it might be cut for a sum not exceeding $1500 per mile. Mr. Treziyulny is of the opinion that a canal for sloop navigation from Philadelphia to Harrisburg is quite practicable. The course they are now leveling, after passing thro' the valley ridge at Henderson's Gap, crosses the Pequa valley to the Welsh mountain, keeps along the south side of it about the height the land it cleared to its western extremity; turns round the end of it and passing up the northern side, at the same altitude, till it goes about half a mile above Churchtown, where it crosses a kind of dividing ridge in the Conestoga valley. This is as far as they had leveled when I saw them on Saturday morning last. They intended to pursue the side of a ridge, which lies on the north of the Conestoga, about 15 miles, before they leave the summit level. - Republican.


Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)

September 29, 1824

Harrisburg, Sept. 28

Two of the canal commissioners (Messrs. Holgate and Clarke) arrived in this borough from the west, on Saturday evening last. They had in their company, the following U.S. Engineers: Gen. Bernard, Col. Toten, Col. Sullivan, Capt. Puissant, Lts. Coursey and Ditton. They have explored the proposed summit level for connecting the waters of the Juniata and Conemaugh, at Blair's Gap, in the Allegheny. Yesterday morning, Col. Holgate, with a brigade of engineers, left this place and proceeded to examine the routes thro' Lancaster and Chester counties. From Philadelphia, the engineers proceed to survey the Raslton route, in New Jersey, and they will report, as to the Pennsylvania routes, we understand, to the commissioners, in November next, from New York.

This day, Messrs. Clarke & Treziyulney, (the latter of whom has been engaged in leveling through Lancaster county,) leave this place, with their hands, for the purpose of making the actual levels, from the Beaverdam creek, on the rankstown branch of Juniata, to the head waters of the Conemaugh, to which place we understand Col. Holgate will repair, after he parts with the U.S. engineers.

We learn from the commissioners that the prospects are highly flattering. We obtained no particulars. - Penn. Intell.


Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) October 13 1824

The National Journal states that the Board of Engineers of Internal Improvement have finished the examination of the routes to connect the Allegheny and Susquehanna rivers, in conjunction with the commissioners of the State of Pennsylvania, Col. Jacob Holgate and Mr. James Clark.

On the western side of the Allegheny mountain, the Board, with the Commissioners, ascended the valley of the Allegheny river to Freepoart, the valley of the Kiskiminitas, of the Conemaugh, and of the little Conemaugh as far as its heads.

On the eastern side of the Allegheny mountains, they descended the valley of Blair's Gap run, Frankstown Branch, the Juniata and the Susquehanna, to Harrisburg

The best adapted summit level, appears to be from the little Conemaugh to Blair's Gap run; as those streams are considered most conveniently situated to pas, in that quarter, from the western to the eastern side of the Allegheny ridge. At this place both deep cutting and a tunnel will be necessary; the former may, probably, require tow and a half miles on the west side, and one mile on the east, say thirty-six feet deep; the tunnel, it is apprehended, will not be less than four miles in length.

Balt. Amer.


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