Upcoming 2022 Events
10AM - 4PM
7 days a week
10AM - 4PM
Boonville Black River Canal Museum is located in Boonville, New York at the
Junction of Main Street and Route 12 on the Banks of the
2022 MUSEUM SEASON HOURS
With the past two years being difficult for everyone, we are very happy to
announce our opening for the 2022 season
We will be opening for WEEKENDS ONLY effective
Saturday, May 28th,
10:00AM to 4:00PM
We will have WEEKEND openings until the end of June when we will be open 7
days a week from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM!
We're excited to see you all again!
We will be having our Open House on
Saturday, June 4th, 2022
10:00AM to 4:00PM
in conjunction with Best of Boonville.
for hot dogs, live blacksmith
demonstration courtesy of North Country Forge, and of course, tours of the museum!
The 77-mile long Black
River Canal was
an engineering marvel of the 19th century. Built between 1837
and 1855, the Black River Canal
ran uphill, connecting the waters of the Erie Canal
with those of Black River. The southern
section of the overland canal linked Rome
and Boonville, a distance of 25 miles.
Following the rugged Lansing Kill Gorge, this section of the canal rose 693
feet and required 70 locks. The northern section of the overland
canal connected Boonville and Lyons
Falls, a distance of 10
miles. This section of the canal descended 386 feet and required 39
locks. All together, the Black River Canal
had 109 locks--still a world record. Between Lyons
Falls and Carthage,
a distance of 42 miles, the Black River itself was
canalized for slack-water navigation. By giving the North
Country access to eastern and
midwestern markets, the Black River
Canal was instrumental in the
region's growth and prosperity.
of the Black River Canal)
For more than a half a
century, the Black River Canal played a central role in the life of the North Country. Appreciating the rich historical legacy of the canal, a group of
interested Boonville residents secured a charter from the New York State
Board of Regents to construct a museum that will preserve, house, and display
artifacts and memorabilia from the canal era. The Boonville Black River
Canal Museum has become a reality and a desirable destination. Located on the
corner of Main Street and NYS Rt 12 in Boonville, NY, the museum has gained
recognition as a hidden gem that beckons to be explored.
One enters the Museum into the Hemlock Mercantile Building
that doubles as a gift shop and exhibit area with a diorama of Boonville in
the days of the canal. The next building serves as an exhibit hall and
conference room with an extensive collection of period photographs and
fascinating artifacts. Here, there is seating for viewing the excellent
descriptive video, “Little
Ditch-The Black River Canal”.
The third building, is an original mule barn converted
into an interactive (hands-on) activity area featuring a mini canal that
invites folks to pilot a small scale boat through
working locks. Also within the building are other stations that
teach and explore the use of pulleys, navigation with a boat rudder, and even
loading canal boats with a crane.
Visitors then enter a full scale
replica of a canal boat featuring living quarters at one end and a mule
stable at the other. The walls of the boat are filled with pictures of the
locks and people of the time. Exhibits in the middle highlight the commodities
that were hauled on the canal. The last building open to the public, is the
George Bardo Blacksmith Shop which was a generous donation from the
Adirondack Experience in Blue Mountain Lake. Originally from Beaver
Falls, NY, it is a cultural treasure complete with tools, horseshoes,
beautifully restored carriage and sleigh and even a horse.
With the help of funding from grants and so many local penny drive contributors, the Remp-Sawyer
Warehouse building was constructed during 2017. This two
story structure houses the museums overflow and provides a workshop
area for maintenance throughout the museum.
Beers Map of Boonville Canal District.
on image for large view)
The Boonville Black River Canal Museum is located on a
site formerly occupied by the Titus Powers Iron Works, built circa 1850
near the Main Street Bridge. The site later became the Holdridge and
Gilbert Foundry and Machine Shop. This foundry is shown on the 1874