Towpath and Aqueduct
The Palmyra-Macedon Aqueduct has worn the
years well judging from the engineer's drawings
below. The arched towpath, still completely intact,
spans Ganargua Creek as it has for almost 150 years
while the massive stone piers that once supported a
giant wooden trough containing the canal, stand nearby. Originally named the Upper Mud Creek Aqueduct,
it was designed in 1856 and built in 1858 by
Thomas Richmond during the first enlargement
of the Erie Canal. Upper Mud Creek was one of 32
aqueducts built throughout the system by the end
of the 19th century (18 were part of the original
Erie Canal) and perhaps one of the best preserved. [captions]
The aqueduct's stone piers support a wooden trough (shown in this photo at the Rome Aqueduct), in the early part of chis century. (Notice the water
leaking from between the wooden seams).
The stone piers today near Palmyra (inset, right). Palmyra Aqueduct today.
The purpose of an aqueduct was to carry the canal and towpath over a river, ravine, or road. The towpath was borne across an aqueduct on stone arches, while the canal itself was carried in an adjacent heavily-braced wooden trough restong on stone piles. The drawing of the Upper Mud Creek Aqueduct at right, dates to the 1850s
and shows the aqueduct looking north down the river. The drawing, viewed from the side, shows the trough (in brown), visible through the twenty-four foot wide arches (in gray). the abutments, curving out at the corners, provided strength for the structure at its ends. In the center of the drawing (right, as seen
from above), is the planking of the canal trough shown in yellow. (shaded gray at
the bottom for shadow) and resting on beams.
The stone abutments are shown in gray at
the four corners. Father of the Iron Bridge
Squire Whipple, the man who designed the Aldrich Change Bridge in 1858, was correct. Writing about the benfits of using iron rather than wood in bridge constrction, Whipple said that, "the iron bridge gives fair promise of enduring for ages." By applying his mathematical training, Whipple added science to the art of bridge building. The formulas that he developed and published, carefully calculated the stress that iron could endure. The bow-string trusses that he patented and used in his bridges proved their strength as well as their beauty. Dozens, if not hundreds of these bow-string truss bridges once crossed the Erie Canal. The 74-foot by 14-foot cast and wrought iron bridge here in Aqueduct Park is Whipple's oldest known surviving structure and one of the oldest truss bridges in the country. The Aldrich
Change Bridge The Aldrich Change Bridge located here in the Wayne County Aqueduct Park, first crossed the Erie Canal in Rochester. The bridge's low railings and cloverleaf towpath allowed teams to pass from one side of the canal to the other. In 1880, workers relocated this bridge to the canal near here. A local farmer bought and moved the bridge again in 1915. After an ice storm collapsed the bridge in 1996, volunteers saved and restored it as a lasting monument to the ingenuity that made the canal a success. [captions] The Aldrich Change Bridge crossing a farm stream near Macedon prior to 1996. It has stood at this location for over 85 years. Its restoration was proposed in July, 1996. Beginning asssembly of the bridge, June 29-30, 2002. Reconstructed bridge on cement pads before placement on abutments, October, 2002. As it appeared in the Wayne County Aqueduct Park, September, 2003.