The History of New York State
Book I, Chapter I

Editor, Dr. James Sullivan

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Pam


The chief rivers of the State are the Hudson, Mohawk, Delaware, Genesee, Oswego, and the Susquehanna, with the St. Lawrence River on the northern boundary, and the Niagara River on the western. The principal lakes wholly in New York are Lakes George on the east; Cayuga, Seneca, Canadaigua, Crooked and Chautauqua on the west; and Skaneateles, Oneida and Otsego in the centre and south. Lake Erie borders Western New York, Lake Ontario is part of the northern boundary of the State, and Lake Champlain divides the States of New York and Vermont.

Several of the rivers have been artificially improved, so as to bring them into the canal system of New York. The canalized sections of the natural watercourses are: the Hudson River, between Troy and Fort Edward, a distance of 37 miles; the Mohawk River for 112 miles; the Oswego, Oneida and Seneca Rivers, for their entire length, 99 miles; Oneida Lake, 21 miles; Cayuga Lake, 38 miles; Seneca Lake, 35 miles; Clyde river, 19 miles, Tonawanda river, 11 miles; Syracuse Harbor, Onondaga Lake outlet, 7 miles; Rochester Harbor, 2 miles; Utica harbor, and a short section of the Mohawk River, 1 mile. This makes a total of 382 miles of canalized rivers and lakes. In addition, the Niagara River for 13 miles, from Tonawanda to buffalo, is used in the canal system.

The New York State canal system provides a canal mileage of 626 miles. This is made up as follows: The Erie Canal, from Waterford to Tonawanda, 339 miles; Oswego Canal, from Lake Ontario to three River Point, 24 miles; Cayuga and Seneca Canal, from the junction with the Erie Canal to Ithaca and Watkins, including Cayuga and Seneca lakes, 92 miles; Champlain Canal, 60 miles; canal borders at Utica, Syracuse and Rochester, 10 miles; Glen Falls feeder, 12 miles; Black River Canal, 35 miles; Black river feeder and reservoirs, 12 miles; Black River improvement, 42 miles.

The Erie Canal was begun at Rome on July 4, 1817, and completed in 1825. It was originally 40 feet wide at surface and four feet deep, the first boats having a burden of 75 tons. Between the years 1836 and 1862 the first enlargement of the Erie Canal was carried out. When completed the enlargement gave the canal a width of 70 feet at water line and a depth of seven feet. In 1896, the deepening of the Erie Canal to nine feet was begun, but was completed at only disconnected sections.

The original Champlain Canal was begun in 1817, and completed in 1823. It was of the same width and depth as the Erie. In1860, however, widening of the Champlain Canal to 50 feet at water line and deepening to five feet was authorized. In 1870 authorization was secured to increase the width to 58 feet and the depth to seven feet; but this improvement was not completed. In 1896 a further enlargement to a depth of seven feet was begun, but not completed.

The Oswego Canal was begun in 1825 and completed in 1828. Enlargement of it to width of 70 feet at surface and depth of seven feet was begun in 1852 and completed in 1862. In 1896 further deepening to nine feet was begun, but nor carried to completion.

The Cayuga and Seneca Canal was begun in 1826 and completed two years later, with same width and depth as the original Erie. The first enlargement was commenced in 1854 and completed in 1862, providing a surface width of 70 feet and a depth of seven feet.

These four canals were eventually taken into what is known as the Barge Canal system, and the uncompleted improvements begun in 1896 are explained by this change. The four canals, as part of the Barge Canal system, were enlarged under bond issues authorized in 1903, 1909, and 1915. The Barge Canal is not of uniform width. Through canalized natural waterways, the channel is at least 200 feet wide. Through rock cuts and land liens a minimum bottom width of 94 feet had been provided, and through earthen sections the minimum bottom width is 75 feet. the locks on the Barge Canal are of uniform size. The lock chambers are 310 feet in length and 45 feet in width, and can pass a barge 300 feet long and 43 feet wide. A depth of 12 feet of water over the mitre sills has been provided. Clearance under fixed bridges spanning the channel is 15-1/2 feet at high water. The Barge Canal improvement of the Erie, Oswego, and Champlain canals was begun in April, 1904, a similar improvement of the Cayuga and Seneca Canals being directed in 1909. In 1916 the improved Champlain Canal, from Troy to Whitehall, was placed in commission. The Barge Canal route from Troy to Oswego, by way of the improved Erie and Oswego Canals was first used in 1917. The system was completed by the opening of the improved Erie Canal, from Troy to Buffalo, in 1918.

The improved Erie Canal, as used in the Barge Canal system, is the principal artificial waterway of the State. Its route, as officially described, #8 commences at Congress Street, Troy and followed the line of the Hudson River to Waterford, where the westward turn is made. From Waterford the line of the Mohawk River, is generally followed to a point beyond Little Falls. Westerly from this point the new channel follows the route of the old canal; in part, but passes the northerly outskirts of the city of Utica on a new line, thence tot he south of Rome, and then into and across Oneida Lake. Passing out of Oneida lake, the Oneida River is used at its junction with the Seneca River at Three River Point; thence through the Seneca river to and through the Clyde river to a point east of Lyons; thence following the old canal, deepened and enlarged , to a point beyond Pittsford. Here the channel leaves the old route, crossing the Genesee River about a mile south of Rochester on a pool created by the construction of a dam, joining the line of the old canal a few miles westerly, and continuing thence in the former channel, deepened and widened, to and through Tonawanda Creek, where the Niagara River is entered and followed to Lake Erie, at Buffalo.

The Cayuga-Seneca Barge Canal extends in a southerly direction from the Erie Barge Canal at a point neat Montezuma. The Cayuga branch follows the valley of the Seneca River to Cayuga Lake, thence through the Cayuga Lake to the inlet of Ithaca. The Seneca branch follows the Seneca River in a westerly direction from the Cayuga branch near the foot of Cayuga Lake to Watkins, with an extension to Montour Falls.

The improved Champlain Canal commences in the Hudson River at Waterford, where the improved Erie Canal starts westward, and follows generally the channel of the Hudson River, canalized, as far northward as Fort Edwards, where a new route has been established to Whitehall on the inlet of Lake Champlain.

The improved Oswego Canal branches northerly from the Erie Canal at Three River Point, and follows generally the line of the Oswego River, canalized, to Lake Ontario at Oswego.

The Black River Canal has been retained without enlargement, and extends from its junction with the Erie Canal at Rome northerly to Carthage, although it is not navigable father north than Lyons Falls.

The steam barges pass through the canals on their way from as far as Duluth to New York, via the Hudson river. The deepening of the latter, to permit ocean-going steams to ascend the river as far as Albany, is a project which has been recently authorized and will be undertaken at joint Federal, State, and municipal expense. Meanwhile, the barges continue to go to New York, where there are eight terminals set apart for barge traffic. A grain elevator of 2,000,0000 bushels capacity has been erected by the State at the Gowanus Bay Terminal, and another of similar capacity is at Oswego, on lake Ontario.

Although considerable development of canals has been made since the State opened the Erie Canal in 1825, the cost of construction and maintenance has been stupendous. The original canals provided facilities for boats of 75 tons; the latest canals in New York State can carry motor barges of 1,500 tons; but to accomplish this expansion of water transport facilities hundred of millions of dollars have been spent. The cost of the Barge Canal alone, since 1903, has been $167,123,774. More than $100,000,000 was spent on earlier construction. Canal tolls were abolished in 1882, and the total amount collected on all the canals prior to that tine was $135,418,325. It therefore seems obvious that the canal projects have not been financially successful, but proponents of canalization point to many accruing advantages which cannot be estimated in dollars and cents: for instance, the expansion of municipalities along the route of the waterways. While there are many anti-canal advocates who are still prepared to endorse the opinion of an engineer who, when the Barge Canal was first projected, asserted that all canal projects of New York "were antiquated and bound to be superseded by railways," there are very many canal enthusiasts who look upon the New York State Canal system as her most valuable asset. Certainly, the State has earnestly and persistently endeavored to make good use of the favors which Providence gave her :with so profuse a hand."

New York Harbor and Port--Alluring as have been the possibilities of profit to New York that seemed to be the certain reward of improvement of inland navigation, they have not been nearly so alluring, nor so sure, as the expansion that seemed certain to come to the port of New York in tidal waters. As the nation grew, so must New York commerce, it seemed. Although there has always been a marked difference of opinion as to the advisability of expending the enormous sums necessary to meet the distribution needs of Great Lakes commerce, there has been no difference of opinion, and little disappointment, as to the growth of New York's seaborne commerce. If Nature was kind to New York in the matter of navigable inland waters she has certainly helped her on the seacoast. Naturally protected, New York has been able to handle maritime commerce of all nations without handicaps such as have had to be overcome by the other great port of the world--London. Nature held the tidal change in New York waters down to comparatively trivial limits, requiring her to provide only wharves or piers open to the tide, where as of London she demanded the erection of expensive tide-locked docks. Thus favored, New York, in a century and a half of statehood, has overhauled and passed her older rival, London, in value of maritime commerce handled, and she now stands far ahead of all the ports of the world. #9 The port of New York, with its comparatively inexpensive piers, has been able to cope satisfactorily with all the commercial demands of the great prosperous productive nations behind her, and with the flood of imports from all national before her. Her natural advantages have helped her to meet all demands.

For a century and a half, importers and exporters have been in the habit of looking toward New York,. Ever since the first days of the young republic New York has been the logical port of entry to and exit from North America. It has been the commercial centre of the New World for almost as long. In 1790, when the first Federal census was taken, New York State ranked fifth among the American Commonwealths, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Massachusetts having more inhabitants. #10 Philadelphia had a population of 44,996 in 1790, but New York City could then claim only 29,906 inhabitants. Boston, in that year, could count only 18,038 residents, though its great colonial past encouraged Bostonians to believe that the true metropolis of the Northern States lay in Massachusetts. But natural advantages outweigh historical associations. Bostonians and Philadelphians who gave any heed at all to the physical features of the rival ports must have soon become convinced that neither could for long compete with New York. As a matter of fact, the latter soon outstripped Philadelphia, and Boston was soon left very far behind. New York State naturally shared in the prosperity that came to New York City. During the last decade of the eighteenth century New York jumped ahead of North Carolina and Massachusetts, and in the next decade passed Pennsylvania. In 1820 the population of New York State was 1,372,812, the next highest being Virginia with 1,065,366. In point of population and commercial importance, New York has ever since been the Empire state, the Federal census of 1920 showing its population to be 10,385,227. Pennsylvania has held second place since 1830; its population in 1920 was 8,720,017. The most recent census-taking was the State enumeration of 1925. Its total for New York State is 11,162,151. Of this population New York City claims 5,873,355, though it might claim a great proportion, inasmuch as the metropolitan area extends far beyond the city limits.

As a mater of fact, the prosperity of the greater part of New York State has reflected and been influenced or helped by the growth of New York city's trading and industries; and the expansion has been largely due to undeniable natural advantages. These superior physical characteristics are as obvious today as they were a century and a half ago. New York City's potentialities are as great now as at any time in her history. No other city or State has grown so rapidly during the last five years, and there is no logical reason for supposing that the stream of commerce which has been pouring into New York from all parts of the United States will grow less, or that any other American port will supplant New York as the principal seaport of this great republic.

Its operation has expanded to such huge dimensions, the maritime interest of the many municipalities in New York Bay and Harbor have become so interwoven that a degree of joint authority in administration has had to be agreed upon. By Chapter 154 of the Laws of New York and Chapter 151 of the Laws of New Jersey, 1921, commissioners from New York and New Jersey were authorized to sign the compact between the two States for the creation of the Port of New York District and the Port of New York Authority. This treaty, which was ratified by congress and approved by the President of the United States, and become effective on may 6, 1921, provides that the Port Authority shall constitute a body, both corporate and politic, with full power and authority to control terminal and transportation facilities within the district, and to be the recognized agency of the two States and of the Federal Government in developing the port of New York. Its aim is to extend and facilitate and coordinate port operations by unifying terminal operations where possible, consolidating shipments to prevent duplication of effort, direct routing of traffic to avoid terminal congestion, and in other ways to give all practicable help and close study to the proper maintenance of the port of New York in its natural usefulness.

On April 16, 1925, an executive order was issued from the White House placing the ports of Newark and Perth Amboy, New Jersey under the jurisdiction of the port of New York, on and from May 1, 1925.

The district waterfront of Greater New York is more then 3,000,000 linear feet in extent. Its approximate 578.4 miles of waterfront in New York State is divided as follows: Manhattan, 43.2 miles; Bronx, 57.1 miles; on the New Jersey side, 192.93 miles, Grant total under authority of port of New York, 771.33 miles.

Inasmuch as New York is now the principal seaport of the world, and that it enters into the history of the New York region from the time of Verrazano's sailing in its waters in the year 1524, a brief description of New York Harbor should be incorporated in this sketch. The description compiled by the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, is the most authoritative, and is given hereunder:

New York Bay is the principal entrance to New York City. it is divided into two parts, the Lower Bay and the upper Bay, by the narrows, a passage about five-eighths of a mile wide at its narrowest part. The entrance to the Lower Bay is between Sandy Hook on the south and Rockaway Point on the north and is about seven miles wide. The Upper Bay extends from the Narrows to the Battery. The principal entrance channels to the Harbor of New York are the Ambrose Channel and the Main Ship-Bayside-Gedney Channel.

Ambrose Channel, which is the newer and more important channel, was completed April 17, 1914. It was a comparatively straight course in a northwesterly and then northerly direction from deep water in the ocean through the Lower Bay. It is 38,000 feet in length and 2,000 feet in width, and has a depth of 40 feet at mean low water. The mean range of tide is about 4.5 feet.

Main Ship-Bayside-Gedney channel is the route formerly used by deep-draught vessels. It extends westward past Sandy Hook and then northward through the Lower Bay. It has a depth of 30 feet at mean low water and a nominal width of 1,000 feet which has decreased in places to 500 feet; the natural channel of 40 feet depth and over varies in width from about 1,500 feet to about 3,000 feet. this channel is being straightened and widened in its narrowest section between Robbins Reef and Governor's Island by dredging. The widened channel will have at least a depth of 40 feet and uniform width of 2,000 feet. Within the harbor there are several channels connecting the different sections. Bay Ridge, Red Hook, and Buttermilk channels lie in Gowanus Bay along the Brooklyn shore of the Upper Bay and form an easterly channel that extends from the Narrows to East River and is separated from the Main Ship Channel by a broad shoal off Gowanus Bay and by Governor's Island. By means of these channels the extensive terminals of the Bush Terminal Co., and of the New York Dock Co., as well as the municipal terminals in south Brooklyn, are directly accessible for large ships and have easy communication with the other sections of the inner harbor.

Bay ridge channel has a minimum depth of 335 feet at mean low water for its full width of 1,200 feet, and a through controlling depth of 38 feet for a middle width of about 800 feet. Red Hook Channel has a minimum depth of 35 feet at mean low water for its full width of 1,200 feet and a through controlling depth of 38 feet for a width of 800 feet except at its junction with Buttermilk Channel, where it is but 600 feet wide the combined length of these channels is about 4.5 miles and the mean range of tide is about 4-1/2 feet. buttermilk channel has a controlling depth of 28 feet at mean low water through a channel 500 feet wide. The mean range of tides is about 4.5 feet.

ABOUT Manhattan ISLAND--Rivers, Creeks, and Bays: the Hudson (North) River empties into Upper New York Bay at the Battery, the southernmost point of Manhattan Island. The width of the river between established pierhead lines is 3,900 feet at the Battery and gradually decreases to 2,750 feet between Castle Point, N. J., and West 14th Street, New York City, and 2,725 feet opposite West 59th Street. A channel with a least depth of 40 feet at mean low water is available through the Hudson River on the New York side of the river up to Fort Washington Point and thence generally along the eastern shore to the northern boundary of the city. along the Jersey City waterfront, a channel connecting with deep water in the Upper Bay is 30 feet deep at mean low water and 300 feet wide. The depth along the Hoboken waterfront is 40 feet at mean low water for the entire width of the river. Above this along the Weehawken-Edgewater waterfront the channel is 26 feet deep at mean low water and 550 feet wide, connecting with the channel of 40 feet depth in about midstream opposite West 145th Street, New York City., the mean range of tide at the battery is 4.4 feet.

The East river is a tidal strait about 16 miles long and from 600 to 4,000 feet wide, exclusive of bays and estuaries, and extends from the Battery in New York City to Throgs Neck, at the head of Long Island Sound. The river separates the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx from the Boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.

The East river is a tidal strait about 16 miles long and from 600 to 4,000 feet wide, exclusive of bays and estuaries, and extends from the Battery in New York City to Throgs Neck, at the head of Long Island Sound. The river separates the Boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx from the Boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.

Between the Battery and Governor's Island a channel of navigable width has been deepened to 34 feet at mean low water. The channel of 30 feet depth is about 600 feet wide. Thence to the Navy yard the channel of 40 feet depth is 600 feet to 1,000 feet wide; thence to Long Island Sound there is a channel 30 feet deep at mean low water with least width of 550 feet, except at Middle Ground, off Sunken Meadow, where it is about 300 feet. In Hell Gate the safe depth is limited to 32 feet through a channel 500 feet wide. A project is under way for deepening the entire channel to 40 feet from the Upper Bay tot he Navy yard and thence 35 feet to Long Island Sound. The mean range of tide in Hell Gate.

Harlem River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek together forma waterway about 8 miles in length, which extends from the East River to the Hudson River and separates the Borough of Manhattan from the Borough of the Bronx. The East River entrance to the Harlem River is about 8-1/2 miles by water northeast of the Battery, and the Hudson River entrance to Spuyten Duyvil Creek is about 13-1/2 miles by water north of the Battery. The improved channel in Harlem River has a width of 150 to 400 feet and a depth of 15 feet at mean low water, except at Macombs Dam Bridge, where ledge rock through the west draw limits the depth to 12 feet at mean low water and through the east draw to 11 feet at mean low water for a width of about 100 feet.

Bronx River is a short and narrow stream that empties into a shallow bay or estuary on the East river at Hunts Point, about 11 miles northeast of the Battery. The navigable portion of the river consists of a channel extending from its mouth to a dam at East 177th Street. This channel is about 2-1/2 miles long and from about 50 to 300 feet wide extending from the East river up to Watson Avenue, about 1,000 feet below Westchester Avenue Bridge. Above this to the gas works at East 173rd Street the channel is 50 feet wide and 4 feet deep at mean low water. The mean range of tide in the Bronx River is about 7 feet in the estuary and 6 feet at the dam.

Westchester Creek is a small stream lying wholly within the limits of the City of New York. This stream extends northward from an estuary in the north shore of East River about 14 miles northeast of the Battery. The estuary is about 1 mile long and from 500 to 3,000 feet wide. The channel is 8 feet deep at mean low water and 100 feet wide across the estuary, thence reducing in width to 80 feet, and in the upper portion, above Unionport, it is 60 feet wide. The mean range of tides is 6.8 feet.

East Chester Creek is a shallow stream that empties into East Chester Bay, on the north shore of Long Island Sound, about 12 miles west of the Connecticut State line and about 21 miles northeast of the Battery. The lower two miles of the navigable portion of this stream lie wholly within the limits of the City of New York. The available depth in the channel is 5 feet at mean low water or 12 feet at mean high water up to the head of the improvement, about 300 feet above Fulton Avenue.

Flushing Bay is on the north side of Long Island, about 12 miles from the Battery. The bay is about 1 mile wide and 2 miles long. Flushing Creek, which flows into the head of the bay, is a tidal stream navigable for a distance of about 3.5 miles from its mouth. The length of channel under improvement extends from the East river through the Bay and up the creek to the upper Long Island railroad bridge, about five-eighths of a mile above the highway bridge at Jackson Avenue, Flushing, a total length of about 3 miles. The available mean low water depth up to the bridge at Jackson Avenue is 8 feet; above this to the upper railroad bridge it is 7 feet. The mean range of the tide is about 7.1 feet.

ON THE BROOKLYN SIDE--Newtown Creek is the inlet of the East river that separates for a distance of about 4 miles the Boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Newtown Creek has a width of 150 feet and a mean low water depth of 20 feet up to Hudson Avenue, 1,500 feet above Meeker Avenue Bridge;; above this to Metropolitan Avenue the depth is 14 feet and width 125 feet. A channel 20 feet deep has been dredged in Dutch Kills, a tributary entering the creek from the north about one-half mile above Vernon Avenue Bridge. The total length of navigable channel in the creek is about 50 miles, and in the Kills about one-half mile. The mean range of tide is about 4 feet.

Wallabout Channel is a channel in Wallabout Bay, an inlet of the East River adjacent to the United States Navy Yard in Brooklyn. The channel consist of a waterway extending in a half circle around the inside of the island, known as Cob Dock, and is divided into two parts by a stone causeway connecting the mainland with Cob Dock. The eastern section of the channel is about 2,000 feet long and from 250 to 350 feet wide, and has a depth of about 20 feet at mean low water. At the head of Wallabout Channel are two bodies of navigable water, Kent Avenue Basin and Wallabout Basin, which are 2,200 feet long and 1,300 feet long respectively.

Jamaica Bay is situated on the south shore of Long Island and lies wholly within the limits of the City of New York. It is about 8 miles long and 4 miles wide, and covers an area of approximately 32 square miles. The bay contains numerous small low-lying islands, which reduce the water surface area to about 18-1/2 square miles. The bay is connected with the ocean by a shifting channel over a bar at Rockaway inlet. A channel has been dredged through this bar 600 feet wide and 28 feet deep at mean low water, which depth reduces to 23 feet along the sides of this dredged channel. Under a joint project for improvement by the Federal government and the City of New York a channel 500 feet wide and 18 feet deep at mean low water has been dredged from deep water at Barren Island up to Canarsie, a length of about 17,600 feet. The mean tidal range is 4.5 feet. The United States is to provide and maintain the entrance channel and to reimburse the city for dredging the main channel in the bay, while the city is to dredge the other channels within the bay, bulkhead the shores of the bay, and fill in behind the bulkheads.

The New jersey Portion of the Harbor: Newark Bay is a large estuary extending from the confluence of the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers south to Staten Island, a distance of about 6 miles. It is about 1-1/2 miles wide. At Staten Island the bay is connected on the east with Kill van Kull, and on the west with Arthur Kill. The United States is now dredging a channel through the bay 30 feet deep, 1,800 feet wide at the entrance, narrowing to 400 feet a short distance above the Central Railroad of New Jersey bridge, thence continuing that width to the confluence of the Passaic and Hackensack River channels. The channel has been completed for a width of about 300 feet up to the Port Newark Terminal. Work is in progress on that part of the channel lying above the Port Newark Terminal channel. The mean range of ride is 5 feet.

Passaic River is a tidal stream which is navigable for vessels drawing 6 feet of water as far as the City of Passaic, 16 miles above its mouth. In the lower portion of the river the depth of the navigable channel is 20 feet to the Jackson Street Bridge at Newark; thence 16 feet to the Montclair and Greenwood Lake Railroad Bridge; thence 6 feet deep to Passaic.

Hackensack River is a tidal stream which merges with the Passaic River at the head of Newark Bay; it is navigable to New Milford, 20-1/2 miles from its mouth. At mean low water 16 feet can be carried to the Public Service power station at Marion, Jersey City, thence 12 feet to the highway bridge at Little Ferry, 20 feet through the bridge, thence from 10 to 12 feet to the New York-Susquehanna Railroad Bridge in Hackensack, and thence quite shoal to New Milford.

THE STATEN ISLAND KILLS--Arthur kill separates Staten Island from New Jersey. It is about 12 miles long. This channel, together with Kill van Kull, forms Staten Island Sound, and, with the lower end of Newark Bay, forms the island waterway between New York and New Jersey, the boundary between the two States following the centre of the waterway. Vessels drawing 19 feet can be taken at mean low water into Newark Bay via Lower New York Bay, Raritan Bay and Arthur Kill. Vessels drawing 23 feet at mean low water an be taken through Upper New York Bay, Kill van Kull, and Arthur Kill to Perth Amboy, N. J. A channel 30 feet deep at mean low water and 200 feet wide is now under construction from Kill can Kull to Perth Amboy, passing south of Shooters Island. This channel will eventually be widened to 400 feet.

Kill van Kull, a connecting waterway about 3 miles in length, lies along the northern shore of Staten Island, and extends from the lower end of Newark Bay to Upper New York Bay. A channel 30 feet deep at mean low water and a minimum width of 400 feet has been constructed by dredging and rock removal through Kill van Kull from Upper New York Bay to within 1 miles of the entrance of Newark Bay. The controlling depth in the undredged portion of the channel in Kill van Kull is 28 feet at mean low water.

Raritan Bay lies at the southern end of Staten Island and forms the western portion of Lower New York Bay. Its greatest length from north to south is about 5 miles and from east to west about 7 miles. The Raritan River empties into the bay at its western end, and the Arthur Kill extends northward from its western end. Vessels enter the Bay by way of the Main ship-Bayside-Gedney Channel, but a draught of not more then 19 feet at mean low water can be carried through the dredged channels at the head of the bay. A channel 30 feet deep at mean low water and 200 feet wide is now under construction from deep water northwest of Sandy Hook to Perth Amboy. This channel will eventually be widened to 400 feet.

THE RARITAN RIVER--Raritan river empties into Raritan Bay at Perth Amboy. At mean low water vessels with a draught of 15 feet can be carried to the Washington Canal at Sayreville, a distance of 6.7 miles; thence 8 feet to New Brunswick, a distance of about 5.3 miles.

Elizabeth river is a small stream that empties into the Arthur Kill near its junction with Newark Bay. The navigable channel in the lower river has a depth of 7 feet at mean high water for 1-1/2 miles.

The Boundaries of New York State--New York State is bounded on the north by Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, which separate it from the province of Ontario, Dominion of Canada; on the eat, by the States of Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut; on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania; on the west, by the State of Pennsylvania, Lake Erie and the Niagara River, which separate it from Canada. New York State is triangular in shape, with a breadth of 326.46 miles from east to west, and of 300 miles from north to south, on the line of the Hudson River. Its exact geographical position is 40° 29' 40" and 45° 0' 42" north latitude, and between 71° 47' 25" longitude, west of Greenwich. The State has a gross area of 49,204 square miles, of which 47,654 represent land surface.

The river, lake, and ocean boundaries are nearly all navigable, including 352 miles on the lakes; 281-1/4 miles on the rivers, (St. Lawrence, Poultney, Hudson, Kill van Kull, Delaware and Niagara); and 246 miles on Long Island and the Atlantic Ocean. The boundary through Lake Ontario is 75 miles; through the St. Lawrence River, 108 miles along the Canadian frontier east of the St. Lawrence River, 62.75 miles; through Lake Champlain, 105 miles; along Poultney River, 17.25 miles; the Vermont line south of that river, 54.06 miles; the Massachusetts line 50.52 miles; through the sound, 96 miles; along the ocean to the New Jersey shore, 150 miles; through the Bay and Hudson River to latitude 41° north 44'; along the New Jersey line westward to the Hudson River, 48.50 miles; through Delaware River, 78 miles; along the Pennsylvania line on latitude 42°, 225.50 miles, on the meridian to Lake Erie, 18.75 miles; and upon the meridian in Lake Erie, 22 miles; through Lake Erie to Buffalo, 50 miles, and through Niagara River, 34 miles.


The History of New York State, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1927

This book is owned by Pam Rietsch and is a part of the Mardos Memorial Library

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

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