"Delightful. . . . Charmingly anecdotal and illustrated with dozens of photographs and numerous sketches. . . . A unique and moving story about life on America's inland waterways."—American Canals
"A compelling memoir that must become a standard item in the bibliography of New York canals, though one need not be greatly interested in canals or waterways to enjoy this story."—New York History
"Pure Americana. . . . A sweeping panorama of commerce, canal life, and now nearly vanished folkways during more than half of this century, and personal memories and yarns that are as engaging as they are modest."—Publishers Weekly
Richard Garrity grew up on his father’s boats on the Erie Canal in the early years of this century. From 1905 until 1916, when his father operated boats first in the lumber trade and later for gravel hauling, he was surrounded by the busy life of a now-bygone era in canal boating in Upstate New York. When the Barge Canal System opened in 1918, Garrity began a career that lasted until his retirement as a tug engineer in 1970.
This story is chock full of Americana that is not only significant and authentic but engagingly written. Garrity’s life
and work have been intimately bound up with the famed Big Ditch, which has been referred to in more romantic literature as the “shining ribbon of water.” It was a hard but happy life on the waterways of Upstate New York as seen in the text and dozens of illustrations included in this book.
Richard Garrity began writing his story as a supplement to the Erie Canal lore in the files of the Historical Society of the Tonawandas, of which he is a charter member. The book grew in scope as it brought back to him memories of a fascinating and happy boyhood spent on the Erie Canal.
6 x 9, 236 pages, 56 balck and white illustrations, 3 maps