Hidden in Suburbia 2011 (Part Five): Locks

In Part Four of this year’s Hidden in Suburbia report (linked below), I visited some crumbling industrial facilities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For this week’s Part Five installment, I go further back in time to visit some of the many, many crumbling locks and dams of the old Erie and Champlain Canal systems, which run throughout my little patch of suburbia.

When I was working at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), I used to take students across the river to look at some of these locks. The canals serviced by the locks were considered to be among the greatest industrial achievements of their day, playing a key role in the opening of the American West to exploration, settlement, and commerce. Now they are dry, overgrown, and crumbling, with homes, businesses and woods pressing up against them on all sides, leaving them as slowly healing scars that cut incongruously across the suburban landscape.

Sure, it’s great to dream of changing the world, but it’s also important to have a sense of where the next great “killer app” stands in the grand, long-term scheme of things. In the end, nature always wins . . .

As always, click on the photo below to read the annotated report, or click here for the wordless slide show.

Our region’s greatest natural wonder. Keep out.

To see other Hidden in Suburbia photo essays, click here.

8 thoughts on “Hidden in Suburbia 2011 (Part Five): Locks

  1. I would love to have something interesting like a canal lock in my backyard.

    I recently told my wife that I find old family burial plots intriguing. Wouldn’t it be cool if we owned property with its own little graveyard? Her reply: “No.”

  2. neat photots. love the beautiful mill. is it abandoned? so sad and pointless about the destroyed towpaths. and that’s a fortune, right there, in granite blocks. take some home and make your own path!

  3. Pingback: Hidden in Suburbia 2011 (Part Six): The Mill « INDIE ALBANY

  4. Pingback: Hidden in Suburbia 2011 (Part Seven): Racetracks « INDIE ALBANY

  5. Pingback: Hidden in Suburbia 2011, Part Eight: Secret Meadow « INDIE ALBANY

  6. Pingback: Hidden in Suburbia 2011 (Part Nine): Farewell, Latham « INDIE ALBANY

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