The History of the Hampshire and Hampden Canal

In conjunction with the exhibition, A River of Dreams, canal historian Carl Walter will speak on the history of the Hampshire and Hampden Canal on Saturday, August 16th at 2 pm at Historic Northampton in Gallery III.

Walter is a retired pathologist who has been studying the New Haven and Northampton Canal since 1991. His work has been to gather as a wealth of information about the canal and create a database with geo-tagging feature. To date, the database has thousands of photos and documents on the canal's rich history.

During the course of his study he has walked the line of the canal twice and has visited all the libraries and historical societies in the canal towns of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Together with his now retired partner, Ruth Hummel, he has given talks and tours along the canal for many years. This will be the first presentation in Northampton.

Walter will speak on why the canal was built, where it was located, how it was constructed, as well as its importance to the canal towns - with emphasis on the line of the canal in Northampton.

The Hampshire and Hampden Canal was Massachusetts' segment of an 86-mile canal that once connected New Haven, Connecticut to Northampton built in 1835. In the 1840's the canal company took out loans to improve efficiency, but its stockholders petitioned to build a railroad on the canal bed. Construction of the rails commenced on January 1847 and the canal closed later that year.

The talk is free and open to the public.

Featured image "Locking Down” courtesy of Raymond J. Holden 1972 - Plainville Historical Society