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Posted on: April 12, 2023

The Schuylkill Canal Association: Preserving the History of Upper Providence Township

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The Schuylkill Canal, originally known as Oakes Reach and named for its designer in 1820, is in the state of Pennsylvania and found in and alongside the Schuylkill River. The Schuylkill Navigation Company operated the canal from 1825 to 1917. The 108-mile canal stretched from Port Carbon to Philadelphia and provided waterpower and transportation to the area in the early 1800s. 

With a growing passion to restore the canal and its history, the volunteer citizens of Upper Providence Township incorporated as the Schuylkill Canal Association in 1985. Since its inception, The Schuylkill Canal Association has secured occupancy and restored the exterior of the Locktenders House, created a picnic area, installed canoe launches, created a nature trail and walking areas. Additionally, handicapped restrooms have been installed. The Schuylkill Canal Association is credited throughout the region with having created the most complete restoration project to date along the river.       

The Schuylkill Canal Association, along with historic Trappe, help to preserve and maintain the rich history of these parts of Pennsylvania’s beautiful landscape and are vital to historic preservation in Upper Providence Township.

If you’re interested in learning more you can visit Lock 60, a fully restored lock along the canal, located in Mont Clare. Known as the Schuylkill Canal Park, this site boosts wildflower walks, fishing, a public boat launch, birdwatching, bike trails and is open to pets. The Locktenders house is also available to visit and open to the general public on the third Sunday of each month from 1-4 PM except in June and December when the schedule varies slightly. It is also available by appointment. The house boasts a large front porch, a living room that houses an old player piano from the Schaeffer family, the last locktender, and exhibits on display. 

 Annual events include the December Holiday Luminaria, St. Patrick’s Day Hike & Treasure Hunts, Earth Day, Canal Day in June and more! Upcoming events can be found here.  If you are looking to get involved and make a difference you can become a member, click here for more information. If a membership does not interest you, a tax-deductible donation is also an option. Visit The Schuylkill Canal Association Facebook page and download their map here

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