Elmer B. Boyd Memorial Park
New Brunswick, Middlesex County, NJ


New Jersey Turnpike south to US 287 north to Exit 2B for US 27 south; drive over the bridge spanning the Raritan River; turn left onto George Street; turn left onto Tabernacle Way and park.  At the end of Tabernacle Way is the entrance to the pedestrian bridge spanning Route 18 and providing access to Boyd Park.

Located on the southern side of the Raritan River, northeast of the Douglass Campus of Rutgers University.


This is the northern terminus of the towpath running from Mulberry Street in Trenton to Landing Lane in New Brunswick.  It is not in the state park, but it does have a towpath and interpretive signage.

The 1868 double outlet lock of the old Delaware & Raritan Canal in Boyd Park has been restored.  The visitor can see the foundation for the powerhouse for what was known as the mechanical mule, a mechanism that pulled vessels into and out of the chamber via wire ropes.

When state Route 18 was constructed through New Brunswick, Lock No. 13, Deep Lock, was filled in.  The locktender's house at Lock No. 13 was moved to Lock No. 14, the outlet in Boyd Park.  Unfortunately, the city of New Brunswick destroyed the house in violation of the memorandum of understanding that it had signed. 

(Linda J. Barth 2002. Images of America: The Delaware and Raritan Canal. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Press.)

Elmer B. Boyd was the publisher of the New Brunswick Home News. The Elmer Boyd Parkway Extension (NJ 18) was constructed in 1984.

There are three bridges, one of them a swing bridge.  One of the bridges spanning the canal is a July 1998 Steadfast Bridge built by the Builtolast Products, Inc. in Fort Payne, Alabama.  A symmetrical timber swing bridge was in operation to provide access from the landside to the outer side of the original lock.  The bridge crossed both lock chambers.  The pivot bridge (swing bridge) over the Outlet Locks gave the mules access from the stable to the towpath.  It also gave the crews and mule and canal drivers a way to get home.

Burnett Street was the main street of the city and was closer to the Raritan River's edge at that time.  The street contained several hotels from which people walked down to the river front and embarked on sail boats or sloops and proceeded down the Raritan to Totenville and New York. 

In the summer, two or three times per week, group day excursions were made to ocean beaches in Raritan Bay via steam powered sloops.

The Canal ended in an inner harbor between the Albany Street Bridge and the Outlet Locks.  Here were several boat building and repair yards. 

1834  --  the chamber locks of Outlet Locks were constructed at different times. The chamber nearest to the River completed this year.

1836  -- the New Brunswick Manufacturing Company formed.

1838  --  Col. James Neilson, treasurer of the New Brunswick Manufacturing Company, made the first use of water power resources from the canal with a water driven sawmill on the site of Boyd Park.

1841  -- the loft above the New Brunswick Sawmill was used to manufacture India rubber goods.

beginning 1855  -- boat building firms of Joseph S. Oram, Runyon, Phillips and Runyon and Lewis H. Hoagland built 84 vessels. 

1861  --  a Civil War flotilla of 14 D&R Canal steam canal boats carried 3,000 New Jersey troops and equipment sought for the defense of Washington, D.C.

1866  --  the inboard lock chamber was completed in order to to handle increased canal traffic.

early 1900s  -- Neilson Avenue was the "main street."  The business of the time included Johnson and Johnson, U.S. Rubber, Norfolk and New Brunswick Hosiery Company, Neilson and Stockton Cotton factory, and the National Wall Paper Company.

World War I  --  the canal provided a safe, inland connecting link between the Philadelphia Navy Yard and the New York ship side.  Guns, boilers, airplanes and myriads of other items were shipped via the canal.

1960s  -- New Brunswick acquired waterfront properties along the canal and and constructed police and other municipal buildings near Albany Street Bridge.  They also provided open space between Commercial Avenue and New Street. 

1973  --  the D&R Canal is put on the National Register of Historic Places.  The New Jersey Department of Transportation constructed cofferdams to protect Outlet Locks and rehabilitate the Tow Path up to the Albany St. Bridge in return for permission to extend Route 18 through the city of New Brunswick (which thereby separated the downtown area from the waterfront).

1990  --  New Brunswick received Green Acres funding to reconnect downtown to waterfront by rehabilitating and expanding Body Park in conjunction with the proposed lock restoration to be financed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. 

1997  -- Phase 1 of the restoration plans for Boyd Park were completed between the Rutgers Boat House and the New Street overpass. 

(Source: Historical Plaques in Boyd Park.)


reconstructed Outlet Locks; reconstructed tow path; Rutgers Class of 1914 Boathouse; playground; lawns; walking.


04/01/2005.  Brief visit after seeing two other sites in the area.  Went down Richmond Street and then turned right and then right again onto Tabernacle Way and parked. Cefe Santana, dog Sonar and I walked over the pedestrian bridge that crossed  Route 18.  There were a lot of crushed beer cans and some wine bottles on the bridge.  A homeless man was behind us and went to sleep on one of the park benches.  The park itself is attractive with good views of the the Raritan River.  Across the River is the Valley Place Ravine and Ayre's Beach.  There is a lot of great signage about the history of the D&R Canal, Outlet Lock and the city of New Brunswick.  We crossed over one of the bridges that took us to the canal towpath.  The towpath is a little odd-looking because it is so narrow and there is no vegetation on it.  One of the signs explained that no trees were permitted to grow on the tow path, probably because it was so narrow.  We walked west along the towpath hoping that we could cross over at the end by the Rutgers Class of 1914 Boathouse.  But we could not cross (and the swing bridge was no in place).  So we turned around and walked back to the bridge spanning the canal.  We walked down to the boat house to see other historical signs.    Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

* = blooming on date of field trip, 4/01/2005

Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple) *
Platanus x hybrida (London plane)
Prunus sp. (cherry)  group of them planted
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Salix sp. (willow)

Hibiscus syriacus (rose of Sharon)

Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)

Allium vineale (field garlic)
Artemisia vulgaris (common mugwort)
Cardamine sp. (bittercress) *
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Narcissus sp. (daffodil) planted
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain)