View 456: Erie Canal Park

Erie Canal Park Entrance Sign
Liz and Dave Beebe Erie Canal Park entrance sign in Camillus, New York on Sunday, March 21, 2021. The park was established in 1972. Thanks to canal wisdom keepers Liz and Dave Beebe, the park grew. Under their tutelage, the Sims’ Museum was built, the 1844 Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct was reconstructed and miles of nature trails established.

On the first day of Spring for 2021, I visited the Erie Canal Park near Camillus, New York for the first time. While the sky was blue and the air unseasonably warm, Nature had yet to start blooming and the trees were still weeks away from leafing out. This park was created in 1972 and owes much of its growth to its namesakes of Liz and Dave Beebe.

Sims' Museum at the Erie Canal Park
Sims’ Museum is a replica of the original Sims’ canal store at the Liz and Dave Beebe Erie Canal Park in Camillus, New York on Sunday, March 21, 2021. The museum is divided into sections for artifacts of the past, a gift shop, local history, display of an Erie Canal Barge, the 1800’s Room, exhibit on the building of the canal, a beautiful wall mural from the Canal’s past and several more.

Devoe Road crosses the canal and allows for trails on both sides. It gave me a nice view of the Sims’ Museum, boat dock and blue water of the Erie Canal.

Houseboat Catherine at Erie Canal Park
Houseboat Catherine is a small homemade Erie Canal houseboat and is 8 feet wide and 18 feet long.on display at the Liz and Dave Beebe Erie Canal Park in Camillus, New York on Sunday, March 21, 2021. This boat dates back nearly 90 years. Its history has had it all over central New York waterways from Oneida Lake to Oswego Harbor with stops on the Erie Canal.

This little houseboat has quite the history from starting out as a fishing scowl on Oneida Lake to a home for 30 years in the Oswego Harbor. Was even moved to a lot on land for years before ending up in the Erie Canal Park in 1976. Volunteers then restored it. Once the park starts doing tours again, you’ll be able to see inside this little houseboat.

Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct
Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct originally built in 1844 at the Liz and Dave Beebe Erie Canal Park in Camillus, New York on Sunday, March 21, 2021. An aqueduct is a water bridge for the canal boats to easily transverse the Nine Mile Creek. The aqueduct was rebuilt in 2009 using the same Onondaga limestone and yellow pine timbers.

The Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct was first built back in 1844 during the Erie Canal’s First Enlargement. The 144 foot waterway is listed as the smallest of the larger aqueducts and is on the National Registry of Historic Sites. It is the only restored navigable Aqueduct in New York State.

Erie Canal Towpath
People walking on a towpath in early Spring along an icy Erie Canal at the Liz and Dave Beebe Erie Canal Park in Camillus, New York on Sunday, March 21, 2021.

I shared the towpath with many other walkers and bikers on a perfect Spring day. There was a layer of ice in the more protected areas of the Erie Canal to remind me we are not done with winter just yet. Still, I breathed in the promising air of Spring and imagined canal boats moving along the towpath next to me.

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