August 14, 2010
This tour is a new idea and we really don’t know what to expect. We have set up a very ambitious schedule for the day and a lot depends on how many people decide to attend the guided tours. We are also looking into the future to make this into a tour package that can be offered to groups.
The distance between the first and last stops is a little more than 12 miles, so it really isn’t a long drive, but with two long walking tours, getting people in and out of their cars and lunch, we will be pushing you along. However, this is not a forced march. The point of having guides is to give you the best tour possible and making this a rewarding day for everyone. And where can you learn so much history for free?
You will be staying with the same tour guide all day. The guide will meet you at the designated stops at the scheduled time. In case you are delayed, please take your time and just catch up. Do not speed, especially in the villages! We have scheduled time for lunch after the Port Byron walking tour.
To help you find your way, I have included GPS coordinates for the parking lot of each stop.
Stop 1 43 03’59.89”N 76 29’45.21”W
Our tour starts at Lock 51 on the enlarged Erie Canal.
Lock 51 is at the western end of what is called the Jordan summit level, a bit of a high spot between Syracuse and Montezuma.
Water from Skaneateles Lake was fed into the canal at Jordan, where it flowed east toward Syracuse and west toward Montezuma. So at Lock 51, we will begin to follow the flow of water westward to Montezuma. Lock 51 is a good place to start since both the first Erie and the enlarged Erie cross the same bit of land, and we can show how the first canal was built and talk about why it was changed during the enlargement.
Lock 51 is located just off Route 31. The two chambers have been partially filled in so you can walk right into the lock and see the rock walls up close.
Tour Schedule- We are allowing 30 minutes for this stop.
If you are west bound, this will be your first stop and start at 9am.
Stop 2 43 03’01.39”N 76 33’44.31”W
Our second stop will be at the Old Brutus Historical Society (OBHS). The Society has a very nice display of local artifacts, dioramas, and a whole army of manikins! If you are not participating in the tours, the OBHS will be open all day from 9am until 3pm for your enjoyment. The Society will also have extra copies of the walking tour guides and any other information that might be handed out during the tours. (Please note that the tour guides are available for a small fee.)
OBHS is .42 miles from the red light at the intersection of Rt’s 31 and 34 (near the Arbys). If you are coming from the west, it is .13 mile from the red light at the intersection of Rt 31 and Brutus Street. Look for the large sign or mural. There is a parking lot on Rt 31 and parking is also permitted on the wide road shoulders. The main entrance is located on Rt 34 in the village, where there are also nice wide shoulders and parking spaces. The OBHS is handicap accessible.
Tour schedule- We are allowing 45 minutes for this stop.
West bound- 9:45am
Stop 3 43 02’35.79”N 76 34’32.37”W
The third stop is the Centerport Aqueduct.
This aqueduct on the enlarged canal carried the Erie across Cold Spring Creek. It will not be a part of the narrated tour, but we are encouraging you to stop and see it, so we have padded the schedule to give you time to see it on your own. There is some very good signage by the parking lot that explains the site. The aqueduct is a short walk from the parking area.
Stop 4 43 02’10.08”N 76 37’28.38”W
The fourth stop is a walking tour in the village of Port Byron.
We will park at the Town Office complex and walk around the village viewing canal and other notable sites. Port Byron’s roots go back to the late 1700’s, when early settlers began to settle around the Owasco Outlet. The canal was opened for business through the village in 1820.
Port Byron was one of a few villages where the canal route was changed during the enlargement. As we walk, we will trace and see the remains of both routes. We will also see the location of three dry docks, the Erie House and Lock 52, and other neat stuff.
This tour covers about 1.5 miles, with a couple of very small rises. All the walking is on pavement, except at the Erie House, where we will be on grass. Parking for this tour will be at the Town Office Building located on Mentz Drive.
Tour schedule- We are allowing 90 minutes for this stop. Please note that both tours will be in Port Byron at the same time, so it is important that we try to get started on time.
West bound- 11am
Stop 5 43 00’37.16”N 76 42’11.58”W
The fifth stop is a walking tour of Montezuma.
Montezuma was a true canal town and it has many great canal sites. Montezuma was the western end of the canal in 1820. We will park at the fire department and walk west to the Seneca River to see the Seneca River Aqueduct. Along the way, we will see the junction of the Cayuga Seneca Canal, a dry dock, a lock site from the first canal, learn about the problems of crossing the Seneca River and learn a little about the barge canal.
This tour covers about 1.6 miles and is flat. However, the walking is all off pavement on grass and dirt (or mud if it has rained). Parking is located at the Fire Department, located on Erie Drive just off Rt 90.
Tour schedule- We are allowing 120 minutes (2 hours) for this stop. There is a lot to see!
West bound- This will be your last stop and starts at 1:30pm.