Spotlight Collection

The Champlain Canal Collection

The June spotlight feature for New York Heritage Digital Collections is the The Champlain Canal Collection from the Mechanicville District Public Library.

The Champlain Canal Collection contains some 48 images of construction on the Champlain Canal near Mechanicville, NY. Much of this construction was documented in February 1982 by Frank J. Kowalczyk. Most of the images depict the various types of equipment used in dredging and maintaining the canal at an around locks C2 and C3.


The Champlain Canal is a 60-mile (97 km) canal that connects the south end of Lake Champlain to the Hudson River in New York. It was simultaneously constructed with the Erie Canal and is now part of the New York State Canal System and the Lakes to Locks Passage.


The canal was proposed in 1812 and construction authorized in 1817. By 1818, 12 miles (19 km) were completed, and in 1819 the canal was opened from Fort Edward to Lake Champlain. The canal was officially opened on September 10, 1823.[2] It was an immediate financial success, and carried substantial commercial traffic until the 1970s. [Read more about the Champlain Canal from Wikipedia -- the Free Encyclopedia]


About the Library

The forerunner of the Mechanicville District Public Library was the L.B. Blakeman Library, begun in 1895 by Principal L.B. Blakeman with the help of his teachers. The library was housed in a school basement and, for many years, had a dual role serving both student and adults.


In the early 1960’s plans for a new high school made no allowances for public library services and, in 1965, a group of citizens started work toward the development of a separate public library. Their dreams came true in 1966, when voters of the school district approved a referendum establishing the Mechanicville District Public Library.


The new library opened in 1967 in what were planned as temporary quarters. For years, mighty efforts were made toward construction of a new building. In July, 1995, voters passed a referendum approving the necessary funds to construct a new library at 190 North Main Street.


The Mechanicville District Public Library is a member of the Capital District Library Council, a member of the NY 3Rs Association, Inc..