Daily Record

September 27, 2006

Remember 'yesterday'

Innovations seem to slip from public consciousness as soon as a new one surfaces. Conducting business by sending faxes at one time seemed truly revolutionary until e-mail came along. Prior to that, snazzy electric typewriters gave way to computers. Once a "new thing" takes hold, we quickly forget how things had been done.
Drive around Morris County and you frequently see signs mentioning that the "Morris Canal" crossed here. Some probably find those signs puzzling.

The Morris Canal in the nineteenth century was a revolutionary engineering achievement; one that helped businesses grow in New Jersey and New York City. The canal began in Phillipsburg on the Delaware River and connected various bodies of water across New Jersey until it reached the Hudson in Jersey City. It used a complicated series of locks and planes to transport canal boats across the state's hills. The canal transported coal and iron ore until railroads became available in the early 1900s.

Today, most of the old canal is paved over; hence the aforementioned signs. But remnants of the canal, the planes and even some water are still visible.

We are pleased two state historic grants totaling about $70,000 have been awarded to Wharton and Roxbury in hopes of restoring parts of the canal and offering boat rides to the public. History should not be forgotten.