Investigation 9: Canalling in the Winter


NYS Learning Standards: SS 1.1 (NYS history), 1.4 (interpreting history)


Grade Level: 3-8


Essential Question: What was life like for canallers in the winter?

(9.1.A)
[rpf01286] Courtesy of the Rochester Public Library, Local History Division


(9.1.B)
[40.332.2953] From the Albert R. Stone Negative Collection, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester, NY


(9.1.C)
[tpm00086] Courtesy of the Perinton Municipal Historian Collection


(9.2.A)
Unidentified


(9.3.A)
Courtesy of the Rochester Public Library


(9.4.A)
From New York Tribune, January 1, 1896. Transcribed in Bottoming Out, July 1958. Courtesy of the Canal Society of New York State


(9.4.B)
From Bottoming Out, July 1957. Courtesy of the Canal Society of New York State


(9.4.C)
From Deacon M. Eaton's, Five Years on the Erie Canal: An Account of Some of the Most Striking Scenes and Incidents During Five Years' Labor on the Erie Canal, and Other Inland Waters. Utica, NY: Bennett, Backus & Hawley, 1845. p. 32-33.


(9.5.A)
[40.332.8945] From the Albert R. Stone Negative Collection, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester, NY


(9.5.B)
From Always Know Your Pal: Children on the Erie Canal, edited by Debbie J. Stack and Donald A. Wilson. Syracuse, NY: Erie Canal Museum, 1993. p. 42. Courtesy of the Erie Canal Museum


(9.6.A)
[40.332.9791] From the Albert R. Stone Negative Collection, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester, NY


(9.6.B)
From Bottoming Out, July 1957. Courtesy of the Canal Society of New York State


(9.7.A)
Winter logging in Treadwell, NY, early 1900's. Courtesy of Douglas Mitchell


(9.7.B)
From Richard Garrity's Canal Boatman: My Life on Upstate Waterways. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1977. p. 3. Courtesy of Syracuse University Press


(9.8.A)
[rpf00785] Courtesy of the Rochester Public Library, Local History Division


(9.8.B)
Ice skating on the contemporary Rideau Canal, Ottawa. Courtesy of the City of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


(9.8.C)
Courtesy of Tom Grasso

Activity 9.1: Canalside in Winter

Document 9.1.A: Photo of Washington St. bridge scene in winter
Document 9.1.B: Photo of unknown location
Document 9.1.C: Photo of Fairport winter


    1. What do you notice?
    1. What do you wonder?
    1. What is not happening in these photos?

Activity 9.2: Shipping on the Canal

Document 9.2.A: Table showing number of boats that entered the locks by month


    1. What information is in the table?
    1. What information is in the ship's log?
    1. How does the information help you add to your understanding of what is and what is not happening in the first activity?

Activity 9.3: Canal Families in Winter

Document 9.3.A: Photo of family on canal boat


    1. Choose one of the people in the picture. Describe what makes you happiest. Also share what you worried about.

Activity 9.4: A Canaller Child's Life in Winter

Document 9.4.A: Account from Bottoming Out
Document 9.4.B: Account from Bottoming Out
Document 9.4.C: Quote from Five Years on the Erie Canal


    1. Work with two classmates. Each of you read one of the texts. Discuss how your life in the winter is different from a canal child's life. Add to or revise what you wrote for Activity 9.3.

Activity 9.5: Maintaining the Boat

Document 9.5.A: Photo of dry docked boat being painted
Document 9.5.B: Quote from Always Know Your Pal


    1. Using these documents, work with a partner to write a conversation between you and your father about the events of the day. Be prepared to perform the conversation for your class.

Activity 9.6: Maintaining the Canal

Document 9.6.A: Photo of steam shovel in canal bed
Document 9.6.B: Text from Bottoming Out


    1. Write a list of questions you would like to ask one of the people in the photo. Trade questions with a classmate. Using your background knowledge, try to answer your partner's questions.
    1. How does the second document help to explain what is happening in the photo? Use this information to answer your classmate's questions.

Activity 9.7: Jobs in Winter for Canallers

Document 9.7.A: Photo of winter logging
Document 9.7.B: Text of logging camp description


    1. How do you think this image might be connected to the first three documents?
    1. How does the text help explain the photo of the logging camp?

Activity 9.8: New Uses for an Old Canal

Document 9.8.A: Photo of ice skating on the old NYS Barge Canal
Document 9.8.B: Photo of ice skating on the contemporary Rideau Canal (Ottawa)
Document 9.8.C: Grasso-Zimmer Plan


    1. Look at Document 9.8.A. Based on what you have learned in this investigation, are canaller children enjoying this kind of activity? Why or why not?
    1. Who else might be ice skating?
    1. Now look at Document 9.8.B. Who do you think is enjoying this kind of activity?
    1. What can you tell about the time period this photo is from? List the evidence that helps you date the image.
    1. What is the same in each image? What is different? Make a list comparing and contrasting these two winter images of a canal.

Assessment #1:

Make a "Job Wanted" ad for a canaller looking for work in the winter. What skills might the canaller list? What types of work might be available? Use the documents you have used in this investigation to help you write your ad.

Assessment #2:

Look at the Grasso-Zimmer Plan for re-watering the old Erie Canal in downtown Rochester. How might a re-watered canal bring new life to our community? How do the images from the last activity help inform your decision? Write a short editorial explaining how a Downtown Canal can help tourism in the winter. Use the documents in this investigation to help you.