Codorus Navigation canal cut north of York

YorksPast continues the series of posts exploring the history of the Codorus Canal. Completed in November of 1833, this canal allowed navigating 70-foot long canal boats between downtown York and the Susquehanna River.

Part four explores the nine-tenths of a mile long canal cut; located just north of York. Information within agreements, and lawsuits, between mill owner George Loucks and the Codorus Navigation Company provide key insights into the specifics of this canal cut and the canal dams at both ends.

In 1830s, the dam that would be at the south end of the canal cut was known as Loucks Dam before the canal was built; then as Canal Dam 1. The dam at the north end of the canal cut was known as Weidner’s Dam before the canal was built; then as Canal Dam 2. Weidner’s Dam supplied the elevated water which powered a waterwheel at Michael Weidner’s Forge on the west side edge of the Codorus Creek; directly across the creek from George Loucks Grist Mill; of which I provided pertinent history in Part 3.

The postcard, at the beginning of this post, is a circa 1906 view, while standing on the east side of Codorus Creek, looking southwest towards Loucks Custom Mill “B” along the west side of Codorus Creek, in Manchester Township. However in 1830s this was the location of Michael Weidner’s Forge; which utilized a waterwheel to power forge bellows and trip hammers, by the water flowing from Weidner’s Dam, shown at the left side of the postcard.

Here is an interesting fact about this postcard. The barn in the background of this postcard now houses San Carlos Restaurant, which opened in the barn during 1962. Details are provided later in this post.

The well established Loucks family, on the east side of the creek, purchased Weidner’s operations on the west side of the creek and converted them into a custom grist mill; in the 1840s. Loucks Mills were on both sides of the creek at that location for over 50-years. The dam between the Loucks Mills came to be called Loucks Dam; misspelled as Laucks on the postcard.

Besides the postcard, I’ve included annotated 1894 and 1903 maps that provide neat insight into the canal cut and the canal dams at both ends. Click on this LINK for a Full View of the three original illustrations in this post if details are cut off in the cropping of illustrations, or if they have been removed from the site.

The links to the other posts in this series follow:

I’ve annotated a 1894 Sanborn-Perris Map page containing Loucks Custom Mill “B” on the west side of the Codorus Creek. I’ve added an arrow to show the general direction of the postcard view. The dam went diagonally across the creek, as shown in the Sanborn Map and confirmed on 1937 aerial photos, that show diagonal ripples where the dam had been. The yellow buildings indicate they are primarily of frame construction, however the Mill and Barn both contain the note that first level is stone. The mill building, right on creek’s edge, was destroyed in the flood of 1933.

I’ve annotated a Library of Congress color version of the 1903 Fred’k B. Roe Map of York, PA. In 1903, the nine-tenths of a mile long canal cut, located just north of York, had long since been relegated to the sole purpose of functioning as the head race for Loucks Mill. However descriptions of Dam No. 1 and the canal cut mirror its placement in on the 1903 map. It is the best map I’ve found to illustrate the section of the Codorus Navigation Canal immediately north of York.

This Codorus Navigation design provided for 2.4-miles along the Codorus Creek from the southern border of the Borough of York to Loucks Mill with one water elevation; including 1.5-miles of slackwater navigation through York plus 0.9-miles of canal navigation to the Loucks Mill (now the location where Route 30 crosses the Codorus Creek).

Next week, in Part 5, based upon everything I’ve dug up on the Codorus Canal, I’ll provide a sketch of what the two Loucks Mill canal locks might have looked like. That will be followed by the continuing series of weekly posts as I continue working my way down the Codorus Naviagtion Canal to the Susquehanna River.

Links to related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

About Stephen H. Smith

Stephen H. Smith is a design engineer who worked at York International Corp. for 33 years before retiring several years ago to research and write books full time; his second career. The initial emphasis was on family history when he won a national award during 2002 for his first book “Barshingers in America." Positive feedback and that award were influential in his decision to retire early from engineering and start a retirement career.
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