Benton Webber recently shared this Conestoga Navigation map with me. It comes from a rarely seen 1973 document entitled The Conestoga River: A Documentation Supporting Its Official Designation As a River.
It is my understanding that after Hurricane Agnes, there was a push to change the designation of the Conestoga from a creek to a river. As with most decisions, the reasoning came down to money. In short, more Federal funds are available for rivers than creeks. This was especially important after Agnes’ devastating effects. Fifty years later, the change from creek seems to be a point of contention for many people.
Webber believes the map is a reproduction of a copy of something that was printed in Ellis & Evans’ 1883 History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men. However, there’s no source or date to it. The original map was likely prepared during Edward Coleman’s ownership because it shows six locks instead of nine. Coleman purchased the canal in 1833.
Another version of the map with more legible text highlights the horsepower at each lock. For example, at Lock 1, there is 53.71 hp, while lock 6 has 229 hp. In addition, the chart also shows a low water flow calculation of 13,653,373 cubic feet per day.
If you want to learn more about the Conestoga Navigation Company, click here.
If you want a bit of adventure while retracing some of the canal’s route, click here for the Slackwater Navigation Adventure.