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The construction of the old Champlain Canal was begun in 1817. The canal officially opened to boat traffic in 1822. It provided direct access for freight and passenger boats from Lake Champlain at Whitehall to Fort Edward on the Hudson River, completing an inland route from the St. Lawrence River to the docks of New York City.

The first feeder canal was dug about 1822 , at the foot of Fort Edward hill, to direct water from the Hudson River one half mile east to the Champlain Canal. When a flood destroyed part of the dam across the Hudson River at Fort Edward, the feeder canal failed to provide sufficient water.

In 1824, a new dam was built across the Hudson River upstream from Wings Falls (now Glens Falls) and the Feeder Canal was begun. It ran seven miles eastward to join the Champlain Canal, guaranteeing adequate water at its summit.

In 1832, the Feeder Canal was widened and deepened to accommodate boat traffic. Thirteen masonry locks were constructed to overcome the 130-foot vertical drop east of Sandy Hill (now Hudson Falls).

This engineering feat includes the popular Five Combines in Kingsbury.


Mills and factories sprouted up along the Feeder Canal's banks. There were six boat basins for loading, unloading and repairs. The bounty of the North Country - lumber, lime, marble, paper, clay, apples and potatoes - was shipped to New York City and southern markets from Queensbury, Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, and Kingsbury. The canal enjoyed prosperity for about 100 years until newer, more efficient transportation routes were established. The present-day Champlain Barge Canal replaced the old canal in the early 1900's.