The Village of Delta
Keeping the Big Locks Filled
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The modest flow of the Mohawk River at Rome could keep up with the locks of the Original Erie (top left), and of the Improved Erie (bottom left), but for the needs of the modern Barge Canal (bottom right), a reservoir would have to be built. In 1812, construction began on a dam in the Mohawk that would create Delta Lake, named after the town that was flooded in order to keep the massive locks of the modern barge canal up and running.
Downtown Delta, NY circa 1905
A reverse view of the previous photo
Dam construction is underway. The cranes in this picture resemble those used eighty years earlier to remove excavated rock from the Deep Cut at Lockport.
In the time before they put tracks on excavators, temporary rails like these were used to move heavy equipment over soft soils. (also see the preceding picture)
The completed Delta Dam as seen facing northeast. The Black River Canal connected the Erie Canal to the Black River and operated as a feeder from about 1850 to 1920, or just a few years after the modern Barge Canal and Delta Dam were finished. The ample water supply from Delta Lake, along with improvements in roads probably hastened its abandonment. The aqueduct you see in this picture is a dry foot bridge over the Mohawk River at this site today.
Delta Dam today showing the control house and water flowing into the Mohawk River