Rexford Aqueduct

Rexford aqueduct with mules

Rexford Aqueduct with mules pulling canal boats.

Lock 22 Rexford c. 1910

Lock 22 at Rexford, NY, c. 1910

Thirteen miles up the Mohawk River was the Upper Mohawk Aqueduct at Rexford. This structure was surely one of the canal’s marvels. Many early photographs of the aqueduct still exist, attesting to the public’s interest in this unique landmark. As late as the early 1900’s people would congregate at Lock 22 and the aqueduct to watch the boats go across. 

Canal store at Lock 22 Rexford

Canal store at Lock 22, Rexford. Now the Schenectady Yacht Club.

Canal Locks 21 and 22 stood at the north approach to the Rexford aqueduct. It was these locks, and the aqueduct, that put Rexford on the map. A thriving community developed in Rexford to serve canallers. During the eight months the canal was in operation each year, eight canal stores were open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Groceries, grain and feed, and the towlines needed on the canal were conveniently available to the canal boat captain in a hurry. Several stores, blacksmith shops, and a large hotel were located along the canal at the north entrance of the aqueduct.  

Barge canal at Rexford, NY

Barges going under the Rexford (NY) bridge

The Rexford Aqueduct was enlarged when the Clifton Park section of the canal was enlarged in 1842. The original 1825 aqueduct was located slightly upriver from the later enlarged aqueduct. The stone superstructure of the earlier aqueduct was adapted as a road bridge and remained standing until destroyed by ice in 1914. By 1917, when the Barge canal opened, this aqueduct was no longer in use. The masonry ends were incorporated into a road bridge across the Mohawk River that ran above the arches that had supported the old towpath. This bridge was replaced in 1964, and that replacement itself replaced in 2017 for a new four-lane bridge. Several arches of the aqueduct remain as a State Historic Site on either side of the river, just east of the bridge. 

McClane Hotel

McClane Hotel, Rexford, NY. Demolished to make way for the Rexford bridge.

Several other canal sites were removed in 1964 when the bridge and road were built. The Cyrus Rexford General Store and the old McLane Hotel sites are now under Route 146. 

Information on Rexford businesses was taken from The Erie Canal Through Saratoga County, by Amelia T. O'Shea (2007).

The Aqueducts
Rexford Aqueduct