Codorus Navigation

The Codorus Navigation Company, based in York in south-central Pennsylvania, was formed in 1829 to make a navigable waterway along Codorus Creek from York, Pennsylvania to the Susquehanna River, a distance of 11 miles (18 km). Plans called for 3 miles (4.8 km) of canal, 8 miles (12.9 km) of slack-water pools, 10 dams, and 13 locks with an average lift of about 7 feet (2.1 m).[1]

Codorus Navigation

Map of historic Pennsylvania canals and connecting railroads
Specifications
Locks 13
Status Abandoned except for recreation and historic interest
History
Original owner Codorus Navigation Company
Date of first use 1832
Date completed 1833
Date closed ~1850
Geography
Start point York
End point Susquehanna River at the mouth of Codorus Creek
Connects to Susquehanna River

The first 3 miles (4.8 km) of the system were finished in 1832, allowing boats named Codorus and Pioneer to run passenger excursions between York and Barnitz’s Springs. After the entire system was opened to boats, arks, and rafts in 1833, the first ark to reach York carried 40,000 feet (12,192 m) of lumber and 100 passengers, and later arrivals brought such cargo as stone, coal, and shingles.[1]

Plans originally included a second canal from the mouth of Codorus Creek along the Susquehanna to calm water above Chestnut Ripples. This would have made entrance into the Codorus system easier for craft coming down the river, but the extension canal, though started, was never finished. Competition from the York and Maryland Railroad, which connected York to Baltimore by 1838, and the Wrightsville, York and Gettysburg Railroad, which began operations in 1840, put the Codorus canal out of business by about 1850.[1]

Codorus Navigation was one of several privately funded canals such as the Union Canal that operated in Pennsylvania during the same era as the Pennsylvania Canal. Though the canal fell into disuse in the middle of the 19th century, parts of its graded towpath, once used by the mules that pulled the boats, are becoming part of a rail trail along Codorus Creek between York and John Rudy County Park. The trail of 5.5 miles (8.9 km), a northern extension of Heritage Rail Trail County Park, will join 42 miles (68 km) of existing trail that begins in Ashland, Maryland, and ends in York. Construction began on the trail extension in 2006.[2]

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Feature Coordinates Description
York

39°57′45″N76°43′40″W[3]

City at the western terminus
Mouth of Codorus Creek 40°03′30″N76°38′39″W[4] Creek mouth near the eastern terminus
  1. Shank, William H. (1986). The Amazing Pennsylvania Canals, 150th Anniversary Edition. York, Pennsylvania: American Canal and Transportation Center. pp. 74–75. ISBN 0-933788-37-1.
  2. Kuehnel, Paul (July 21, 2006). “An Old Path Offers New Solutions”. York Daily Record.
  3. “York”. Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. August 2, 1979. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  4. “Codorus Creek”. Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. August 2, 1979. Retrieved March 21, 2009.

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