Corwin Farm, an intact historic Delaware and Hudson Canal-era lock tender’s house, barn, and outbuildings set within a landscape of mature trees, orchards, and lawns lies along an intact portion of the canal. This site provides an opportunity to look into the 1800’s period of industrialization while also enjoying the natural beauty of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, easily visible from the yard.
Immediately south of Canal Lock #67, soil excavated from the canal prism was piled in an area between the canal and the river, creating a raised terrace. The towpath ran along the west side of the canal, between this terrace and the canal. In c. 1840, the Canal Company constructed a lockkeeper's house at the north end of the terrace, and in c.1850 a barn and shed at the south end. The basement levels of both structures, at the same grade as the towpath, provided direct access to and from the towpath. There was also a bridge crossing over the canal just south of the barn and a privy north of the house. Historic maps and local tradition indicate that J. Corwin served as the lock tender from 1856-65. In the 1870s, the house was enlarged with an addition and in 1898 a small garden house was added.
Corwin Farm is significant for its buildings as intact and representative examples of mid-nineteenth century vernacular architecture and construction. The house, built c.1840, illustrates a vernacular interpretation of the Greek Revival style.
The barn, built in c. 1850, is a wood-frame building located immediately adjacent to the towpath and according to local tradition served as the stable for Lock 67. The mortise and tenon barn frame is unaltered, and the vertical board exterior is substantially intact.
Although it no longer holds water, the canal's stone retaining walls, earthen/gravel towpath, and bridge/causeway crossing still convey its nineteenth century design and use.
In the 1820s, attention to reliable transportation in the Upper Delaware valley shifted from roads to canals because of the extraction of anthracite coal in the hills of Northeastern Pennsylvania. This type of coal was found to burn cleaner and more efficiently than the bituminous coal that was commonly used, and was already being shipped to markets in Philadelphia and Baltimore via canals. There was, however, no modern transportation system to deliver the coal to New York City, an opportunity that prompted merchants Maurice and William Wurts of Philadelphia to eventually establish the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company.
Each of the locks along the way was manually operated by a lockkeeper, who controlled the amount of water in the locks. Nearby were dwellings for the lockkeeper and barns for the mules that pulled the boats. Some locks also had stores for supplies, and there were often gardens and orchards nearby for the lockkeeper's family and canal boat crews.