History and Route
The Morris Canal, sometimes called the Morris and Essex Canal, was a 107-mile (172-km) canal across northern New Jersey in the United States. In use from the late 1820s to the 1920s, it stretched from Phillipsburg on the Delaware River eastward to Jersey City on the Hudson River. It was considered a technical marvel for its water-driven inclined planes to cross the northern New Jersey hills.
Completed to Newark in 1831, the canal was extended eastward to Jersey City between 1834 and 1836. It eased the transportation of anthracite coal from Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley to northern New Jersey's growing iron industry and other developing industries in New Jersey and the New York City area. It also carried iron ore westward to iron furnaces in western New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania until the development of Great Lakes iron ore caused them to decline. By the 1850s, the canal began to be eclipsed by the construction of railroads, although it remained in heavy use through the 1860s. It was leased to the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1871, taken over by the state of New Jersey late in 1922, and formally abandoned in 1924.