Canal Park Committee Collection
The town of South Hadley was settled in 1727 near the Great Falls, a 53-foot drop in the Connecticut River. The South Hadley Canal was completed in 1795 and allowed boats to bypass the falls and transport goods to Western Massachusetts. It was the first commercially navigable canal in the United States and it played a crucial role in the economic development of Western Massachusetts. In 1862, the canal closed after railroads became the preferred method for transporting goods. The images in this collection were collected and organized by Robert E. Barrett, long time Canal Park Committee member and former President of the Holyoke Water Power Company. Members of the Canal Park Committee used these slides as visual aids for talks they gave about the history of the South Hadley Canal, Holyoke Dam, Holyoke Water Power Company, Robert E. Barrett Fishway, and the Town of South Hadley.