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The History Of Connecticut’s Farmington Canal

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The Farmington Canal runs all the way from New Haven, Connecticut to Northampton, Massachusetts. There’s not a whole lot left of it now. The authority on its history is a former Doctor of Pathology turned historian, Carl E. Walter. He’s been studying and lecturing on it for close to 30 years. He’s fascinated about how it was built and the reason for its existence, which was for trade and commerce.

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In 1835, the canal was 4 feet deep, about one-hundred miles long and was traveled by boats that were 75-feet long…think of those boats as the precursor to the 18-wheeler which carry out goods today. Anything you want to know about the Farmington Canal is chronicled by Walter. The demise of the canal was the railroad and that happened about 1847. Walter has put together 9 brochures from his collection of historical photos that tell the tales of how towns grew along the canal. His work is available at the Simsbury Free library.


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