Path of the Morris Canal

Goller, Robert R. 1999. The Morris Canal: Across New Jersey by Water and Rail. Charleston, SC: Aracadia Images of America Series. A great book with lots and lots of old pictures of the various planes and locks of the Morris Canal.

23 inclined planes; 23 conventional lift locks to overcome the 1,674 feet of vertical change from end to end.

Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), PA
Lehigh River
Easton, PA
over the Delaware River


Plane 11 West on the Delaware River at Port Delaware (arch still stands).
The Morris Canal paralleled the Delaware River along the south side of Phillipsburg; it passed by an iron furnace built in 1848 and known originally as the Cooper Furnace (later the Andover Furnace).

Green's Mills (Green's Bridge)
The canal passed by Green's Mills (later Green's Bridge) on the eastern end of Phillipsburg.
Lock 10 west was just beyond the Green's Mills bridges, around the bend.

Lopatcong Township
Lock 9 west (a 9 foot elevation change) was just a short distance outside Phillipsburg. Lock tender's house survives as a private residence. The locks have been filled in. Just below the lock, Lopatcong Creek joined the canal for a short distance.

Plane 10 west (a 44 foot elevation change) was the first inclined plane encountered by an eastbound boat.

Pohatcong Township
Lock 8 west (a 9-foot elevation) almost in sight of Lock 9 west. Lock tender's house survives as a private residence. The locks have been filled in.

Eastbound boats approached Plane 9 west (99 foot change in elevation). This was the longest, largest plane on the Morris Canal. Canal bridge used today for Warren County Route 519.

Plane 8 west (62 foot elevation change).

New Village
Lock 7 west (a 10 foot elevation change) was just west of the village.

Brass Castle

Bowerstown (n.w. side of Washington)
the canal crossed Pohatcong Creek over a stone culvert (now carrying Plane Hill Road) before ascending Plane 7 west (a 73 foot elevation change). The brakeman's house remains.

Port Colden
The town was named for Cadwallader D. Colden, second president of the Morris Canal & Banking Company. Lock 6 west (a 10 foot elevation change) was on the west side of Port Colden. The lock tender's house remains. Thy build canal boats here.

Port Colden (east side straddling both Washington and Mansfield Townships)
Plane 6 west (a 50 foot elevation change).

Port Murray
The town was named for James B. Murray, the third president of the Morris Canal and Banking Company. Plane 5 West (a 64 foot elevation change) was just west of the village. Still in use are John R. Robeson's general store, a blacksmith shop and a mule barn.

Port Murray
The old McCrea-Forker canal store and the McCrea Memorial United Methodist Church still exist. There is a short stretch of canal bed east of the McCrea-Forker store. On the east side of Port Murray was a boat basin.

The abandoned canal has been preserved as part of what became the New Jersey State Game Farm (now the NJ Pheasant Farm).

On the north side of Hackettstown, the canal passed by Buck Hill. Today's US Route 46 passes here.

Musconetcong River Valley
Northeast of Hackettstown the canal went through a narrow valley also traversed by the Musconetcong River.

Saxton Falls
In 1830 the canal company erected a dam in the river creating a mile-long lake of still water and hence a mile of slackwater navigation. Here they had a guard lock (a guard lock is simply a barrier between the canal and a natural body of water). The DL& W Railroad passed along the far side of the river.

Guinea Hollow
A mile upstream the canal parted with the Musconetcong River at Lock 4 West (10 foot elevation change), long known as Bird's Lock after Morris Bird, the lock tender.

Plane 4 West (a 480 foot elevation change). Mules and drivers crossed the Lock Pond to the foot of the plane. The powerhouse was set away from the plane tracks.

Boats passed through Lock 3 West, another guard lock, connecting the canal and a dammed pond on the Musconetcong River known as the Lock Pond. The stone building at the guard lock is now the village's general store.

Woods of Mount Olive -- Not Far East of Waterloo
The canal climbed Plane 3 West (a 50 foot elevation change). US 80 now crosses the area just beyond the ruins of the old brakeman's house.

a large iron-manufacturing village, site of the first anthracite-fueled iron blast furnace in NJ, built in 1841. West of Stanhope was Lock 2 West. The old stone lock tender's house now stands in ruins.

Near Stanhope was Plane 2 West (a 70 foot elevation change), the summit just west of Bridge Street (now Kelly Place). John Hulse's general store still stands. The walls are concrete made with slag from the nearby Musconetcong Iron Works furnace.

Near the eastern end of the Stanhope canal basin
Near here was a plaster mill, part of the original ironworks complex, and the entrance to a narrow slip that led from the basin to the Musconetcong Iron Works (rebuilt in 1860 from original Stanhope Iron Company built in 1800). It later became the Singer Manufacturing Company.

East side of Stanhope
The canal passed under the old Union Turnpike Road (now Sussex County Route 183) from Elizabeth to Newton.

Lake Musconetcong
the canal crossed a canal reservoir on its way to Port Morris. This was once known as the Stanhope Reservoir. Here was Lock 1 West, a guard lock originally built in 1845 as a wooden lock.

Port Morris -- the summit of the canal route

This was an important railroad junction. On the east side of the canal reservoir the canal rose across Plane 1 West (a 58-foot elevation change) to its summit level of about 760 feet above the Delaware River (about 914 feet above sea level at its eastern terminus, on the Hudson). In the town itself the canal continued along parallel to Canal Street.

Lake Hopatcong
A little past Port Morris the canal joined with its feeder to Lake Hopatcong. The canal passed over the feeder on the bridge. Brooklyn Lock was unnumbered and was both a guard lock and a lift lock with an elevation of about 12 feet. From Bertrand's Island in the middle of the lake the canal boats were towed across the lake to Nolan's Point farther north on the eastern shore. Some would take on iron at the ore dock of the Ogden Mine Railroad. This traffic ended in the 1880s after the Central Railroad of NJ absorbed the Ogden Mine Railroad -- just about when the lake began growing as a tourist resort.

On its eastern descent from the summit the canal passed 12 incline planes and 16 lift locks that lowered it about 914 feet to the Passaic River at Newark; and from here another 11 miles crossing the Passaic and the Hackensack Rivers into Jersey City, across the Jersey City-Bayonne peninsula, to its eastern terminus on the Hudson River.

The canal continued eastward past the DL&W Railroad Station at Landing.

Just east of Landing. A tiny settlement at Plane 1 East (a 50 foot elevation change).

Ledgewood (formerly Drakesville)
Approaching Ledgewood the canal crossed under the main road that it today's U.S. Route 46. Here there were two inclined planes. Plane 2 East and Plane 3 East. Emmons Road crossed the plane. The canal passed over the Succasunna plain. Lock 1 East.

Kenvil (formerly McCainsville for the McCain family which operated a hotel, lumber company and gristmill here).

Baker's Mills
Named for the nearby gristmill established and operated by Jeremiah Baker and his descendants. Here was Plane 4 East (a 52 foot elevation change).

Wharton (before 1902, formerly Port Oram)
Robert F. Oram, Sr., was a Welshman who came in 1848 to supervise the building of an iron furnace. The port Oram Iron Company was later taken over by financier Joseph Wharton, of Philadelphia.

Lock 2 East (an 8 foot elevation change). It also was known as Bird's Lock. East of the lock there is remaining about a quarter mile of the canal. It is fed by Stephens Brook and looks much as it did in canal times.

East Side of Wharton
Plane 5 East (a 66 foot elevation change) was adjacent to the Wharton Furnace. South of this plane there was a succession of small descents, among them Lock 3 East (a 9 foot elevation change). Then on to Lock 4 East (another 9 foot elevation change).

The canal passed the millpond for the Ulster Iron Works. Lock 5 East (a 9 foot elevation change).

Rockaway River
Locks 6 (a 9 foot elevation change) at Sussex Street.

Lock 7 East at the Rockaway River.

Horsehoe Bend
The canal took a sharp turn south, then went abruptly north at a place known locally as Horseshoe Bend. Dickerson's Bridge went over top of the canal.

Another town built by Jersey iron. The canal went through Rockaway toward the summit of Plane 6 East (a 52 foot elevation change).

The canal passed through Denville in the flat Rockaway river valley. At the east end of Denville was Lock 8 East (a 7-foot elevation change). Beyond the lock was a small aqueduct over the Rockaway River.

The Tourne
From the canal this distinctive hill could be seen in the background, a local landmark and now a Morris County park area.

just west of Boonton. Today it is a part of Boonton Township. Lock 9 East (a 7 foot elevation change) and Lock 10 East nearby which brought the canal to the Rockaway River.

Rockaway River (Pond Bridge)
Lock 12 East (a 10 foot elevation change) near the Pond Bridge over the Rockaway River, a major thoroughfare into Boonton. The Rockaway River was dammed below the Pond Bridge.

Plane 7 East (an 80 foot elevation change). Lock 13 East (a 12 foot elevation change) -- the lock was known at various times as Solomon's Lock, the Miller Lock, and the Farrand lock.

The canal descended three incline planes: Plane 8 East (a 76 foot elevation change); Plane 9 East (a 74 foot elevation change), just east of Plane 8 East. Two bridges crossed the plane are both for Main Road (Now US Route 202), which doubles back across the incline. Then there was Pontoe's bridge, in the Towaco section of Montville, which was a cable suspension bridge.

near Lincoln Park
The canal descended again on Plane 10 East (a 56 foot elevation change) The area was earlier known as Beavertown. The plane was sometimes also called the Pompton plane.

Lincoln Park
the canal dropped at Lock 14 East (a 8 foot elevation change). It was long known as Maines' lock, after the lock tender of many years. Below this lock, the canal began its longest stretch without an elevation change -- the 17-mile level to Bloomfield.

Mountain View
Aqueduct over the Pompton River. The aqueduct was built around 1850. It was 274 feet long and was supported on seven stone piers. It replaced the original 1830 aqueduct.

Totowa and Little Falls
The canal approached the Passaic River at Totowa and Little Falls.

The Morris Canal swung around the northern end of Garret Mountain, changing its direction to the south.

Clifton (formerly Aquackanonk Township)
Here the canal passed through farmland. There was once an old hotel, the old Centreville Hotel, at the intersection of today's Broad Street and Van Houten Avenue.

Broodkdale section of Bloomfield
The canal delineated the Nutley border, along East Passaic Avenue (formerly Canal Street).

Summit of Plane 11 East (a 54 foot elevation change) and the end of the 17 mile level. Today the plane is a sloped section of John F. Kennedy Drive.

Third River
The James Street change bridge and a small aqueduct over the Third River. Change bridges were used where the towpath changed from one side of the canal to the other.
Lock 15 East (a 10 foot elevation change) was at Montgomery Street.

near Belleville
The Second River aqueduct

Newark, n.w. end, Forest Hill section
The canal passed through areas that later became part of Branch Brook Park. Passed under Orange Street.
Later the canal went to Lock 16 East (a 10 foot elevation change) an area which later became Lock Street. It was located almost directly behind the present campus of the NJ Institute of Technology.
Plane 12 East (a 70 foot elevation change), the easternmost of the canal's inclined planes.

Below Plane 12 East a steam tugboat towed canal boats to Centre Market, at Broad Street.
Lock 17 East (a 230 foot elevation change). Lock 18 East (a 10 foot elevation change) at the Passaic.

To Downtown Newark
now the route of Raymond Boulevard.
Lock 19 East (a 10 foot elevation change).
Lock 20 East, the tide lock to the Passaic River at the south side of Newark.

Kearny Point
The canal crossed the point in an open channel when the tide allowed.

Jersey City-Bayonne peninsula
Lock 21 East, another tide lock, separated the canal in Jersey City from the Hackensack River.

Newark Bay
The canal turned south and followed Newark Bay down nearly to the Bayonne boundary. Today's US Route 440 follows the old canal route.

Jersey City-Bayonne boundary
The canal turned away from Newark Bay to travel southeast along the Jersey City-Bayonne boundary.

Fiddler's Elbow
As the canal approached New York Bay on the east side of the peninsula, it changed directions to travel north along the bay. The bend was known as Fiddler's Elbow.

Mill Creek
The canal aqueduct over Mill Creek.

Hudson River waterfront
the Little Basin was the canal's 1836 terminus on the Hudson River.