The Travels of Tug 44

Old Richmond Aqueduct
Montezuma, NY

Construction on the Richmond Aqueduct (also known as the Montezuma Aqueduct) was begun in 1849 and completed in 1857. It enabled the Enlarged Erie Canal to pass over the Seneca River, on a series of 31 stone arches. The Aqueduct was about 900 feet long.

Building this Aqueduct proved extremely difficult as the site was bottomless muck. Wooden pilings were driven 190 feet deep and no rock was found. Eventually a "mattress" built of logs was sunk to the bottom of the Seneca River and the stone construction was built on top of this base. The Aqueduct remained in use until 1917, when all but 9 arches were dismantled. The Aqueduct was named after Van R. Richmond, the engineer who directed its construction.

A closeup of the arches, which formed the towpath.

This end-view of the remaining arches shows a recent high-water mark from flooding.

On the north side of the Seneca River, one sees these remains. Notice the round balls which were simply decorative trimmings.

On a later visit in August 2007, I got brave and took my boat farther into the shoals, and got this view of the arches.

And this nice closeup of the underside of one of the arches. This view shows the stone work of the Old Richmond Aqueduct is still in fine condition after 155 years in the elements.

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