The Farmington Canal

The hand-dug waterway is mostly forgotten now, but it opened up areas of New England as well as imaginations.

The first years of the 1800s in America were loud with canal talk. The enormous success of the Erie Canal had aroused engineering instincts in every American. Even the barnyard was invaded; inventive farmers were building small canals from their farms to the nearest river, some had devised sluiceways from barn to barn for floating heavy loads instead of hauling them in wagons, and others made canal ways from their land to the nearest mill to float logs and grain boats instead of braving the yard-thick mud of the roads.