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Enlarged Erie Canal Lock 56 in Lyons, New York is a historical treasure that local citizens have been making efforts to preserve and restore for nearly thirty years. Lock E-56 even has a website dedicated to it, amongst many mentions on Erie Canal history enthusiast sites across the Web. The Lock E-56 website is found at www.e-56.org.

A Palmyra, NY family visiting Lock E-56 today (13-Sep-2009) told Wayne County Life how much they enjoyed the walk in to the historic lock, which is a highlight on one of the sixteen Wayne County Passport trails. These friendly hikers were interested to learn that the earlier canal locks were narrower in width, and one suggested that it is essential to incorporate our local history into the classrooms of public education. The Palmyra family is joined by many other Wayne County residents and Erie Canal fans in their hope that Enlarged Erie Canal Lock 56 can one day be restored and re-watered. This lock, which still has water in it, is immediately adjacent to the current-day Erie Canal and is a prime candidate for becoming a first-class tourist destination. It could be the first fully restored and fully-navigable lock of its type in all of New York State.

Visit historic Lock E-56 by viewing the Wayne County Life video below:

Interested in becoming a voice for the historical preservation and restoration of Lock E-56? Contact the group Erie's Restoration Interests Everyone, Inc. (E.R.I.E.) by visiting the following page and submitting your information:



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1 Comment to "Historic Erie Canal Lock 56"

  1. Videomark Said,

    I wanted to share a poem from before 1938 about Lock 56.

    The Old Lock Home
    By Nora Ellena (Westcott) Studer

    All around are the beautiful hills, with the valley between
    Where the home of my childhood still may be seen,
    The daisied field, both far and near
    Told us again that Spring was here,
    The wooded hill and wooded vale
    Might have told us many a tale
    Of Indian lore and tomahawk,
    Where the Redman stealthily love to walk.

    The little red school house about a mile away
    Is doing good business there today,
    It stands at the foot of a wooded hill,
    Where the children wandered at their own sweet will
    To hunt the wild flowers and mulberry tree,
    Us children, so full of fun and glee,
    We rode down hill on the double ripper,
    And all drank out of the same tin dipper.

    In the valley the Erie Waters passed lazily through,
    But their extremities were soon lost from view,
    Their waters were dotted with boats here and there
    Going to their destination, somewhere.
    Some boats were heavily loaded, and some were light,
    But this panorama kept up both day and night.
    The boatmen would yell, and the locktenders too,
    Trying to understand just what they should do.

    Our lock was called “The Poor House Lock”-for what reason, do you say?
    Because a county institution is only a few hundred feet away.
    Father used to say it’s a mighty good thing it’s so
    For we won’t have far to go if we get completely our of “dough”
    The lock was number 56, but now it’s number O
    For when the new Barge Canal was built, the old one had to go,
    Not much like the busy, happy days of old.

    The house is still standing by the old road today,
    The walls look strong and may last many years before decay,
    This dear old familiar road has about run it’s race
    For the new state road is built, and taken it’s place.
    The little brook that passed by the yard has ceased to flow-
    The high bridge we crossed when going to town,
    Was long, long ago wrecked and torn down.

    The old lock house now looks forlorn to me,
    As no bright blossoms in the widow I see,
    The orchard and trees that gave us such fine shade,
    By the workman’s axe long ago have been laid.
    The shops and the sheds are all taken away
    And the flowers we loved and cared for each day
    So I’ll leave the old house with it flight of the years
    With a heart full of thankfulness, and just a few tears.

    Posted on Mon Sep 14, 11:38:00 AM EDT


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