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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Union Canal Historical Marker - Allentown Blvd. Harrisburg

Driving around the Harrisburg and Hershey areas in Pennsylvania, you'll come across several historical markers. Three years ago we started documenting the ones that we came across here on our blog by photographing them and including their information and location.

Today's historical marker can be found at the intersection of Hershey Road and Allentown Blvd., right outside of Harrisburg. We passed it while coming back from Hershey and heading into the Harrisburg suburbs. We were able to easily pull off the road and photograph it.

According to Wikipedia - The Union Canal was a towpath canal that existed in southeastern Pennsylvania in the United States during the 19th century. First proposed in 1690 to connect Philadelphia with the Susquehanna River, it ran approximately 82 mi from Middletown on the Susquehanna below Harrisburg to Reading on the Schuylkill River.

Construction began in 1792 during the George Washington Administration, but financial difficulties delayed its completion until 1828. Called the "Golden Link," it provided a critical early transportation route for shipping anthracite coal and lumber eastward to Philadelphia. Closed in the 1880s, remnants of the canal remain, most notably the Union Canal Tunnel, a hand-built engineering marvel that is the oldest existing transportation tunnel in the United States.

Union Canal Historical Marker near Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Here's what the Union Canal historical marker says:

Union Canal

At Union Deposit, five miles south, can be seen remains of this canal. It connected the Susquehanna at Middletown with the Schuylkill at Reading. Suggested by William Penn, the canal was surveyed in 1762. Completed in 1828; abandoned in 1885.

Bottom (in tiny print): Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The historical marker sits right at the intersection and busy Allentown Blvd. and you can't see any "remains" of the old canal from this advantage point. However, we will be publishing another blog post in the coming weeks showing you some photographs of what remains of the canal itself.

Note: You can double click on the above image and have it open up in a new browsing window and in enlarged size.

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