Guide to Canal Records
State Engineer and Surveyor
General Administrative Records
B0226. Correspondence files, 1848-1921. 107.6 cu. ft.
Arrangement: By type of correspondence (incoming or outgoing), then chronological.
The bulk of this series consists of correspondence to or from the State Engineer and Surveyor. Also included are job applications; maps, tracings, plans, blueprints, and sketches; photographs; reports; newspaper, journal, and magazine clippings; legal opinions; weekly reports; orders; original and duplicate contracts; and copies of resolutions. The records relate to the construction, maintenance, operation, and administration of the State's canal system, in particular the second enlargement of the Erie and lesser canals and feeders and the construction of the Barge Canal. Most of the records concern the latter project.
Among the numerous topics documented are employment applications, appointments, promotions, and transfers for canal surveying and construction projects; claims against the State by individuals or companies for damages to their property during or after canal construction projects; land appropriations by the State; monthly and final cost estimates submitted for canal construction; property surveys; abandonment of canal lands previously owned by the State; purchase of equipment for construction projects; construction methods to be employed or avoided; proposed projects to be built on State canal lands; issuance of permits to allow private construction on State lands; physical condition of canal structures; canal contract alterations; opening and closing of the canal system; repair and location of boundary monuments; inspection of Barge Canal labor camps by State authorities; and canal navigation obstructions.
Finding aids: Container list.
B0250. Resident, division and assistant engineers' correspondence, 1904-1915. 1.3 cu. ft. (17 volumes)
Arrangement: By engineer, then chronological.
This series consists of mostly duplicate copies of outgoing correspondence of resident, division, and assistant engineers involved with the construction of the Barge Canal. Also included in the volumes in smaller quantities are incoming correspondence, progress reports on contracts, final estimates, yearly reports, monthly reports, monthly expenditures and estimates, State property inventories, and detailed construction estimates.
Correspondence primarily concerns supervision of work on Barge Canal contracts numbers 4, 18, 44, and 50 and the Canaseraga Creek improvement project. The correspondence often provides information on progress of construction; construction practices employed; location of the canal along with dams, dikes, and other structures; land appropriations; and contract alterations, specifications, and estimates. Also included are routine administrative matters such as the renting of office space, employee vacations and absences, purchase of office supplies, and submission of reports.
Finding aids: Volume list.
B0247. Administrative subject files, 1922, 1925. 8 cu. ft.
Arrangement: By subject, and filed numerically according to a system devised by the office of the State Engineer and Surveyor.
These files contain many of the same types of documents (except photographs) found in series B0226, Correspondence Files, described above (page 23). The files clearly reflect the various duties and functions of the State Engineer and Surveyor and cover such topics as personnel matters; routine administration (inventory of supplies, equipment purchases, etc.); Barge Canal construction and maintenance projects; joint topographical survey of the State with the U.S. Geological Survey; boundary line surveys (State and local); land appropriations; releases and easements; "blue line" surveys; abandonment and sale of canal lands; operation and navigation of the Barge Canal; canal alternations; damage claims filed against the State; complaints; floods and other disasters; and various canal structures.
Finding aids: Container list.
A1275. Special Deputy State Engineer's monthly reports, 1917-1920. 1 volume
This series consists of canal construction reports and cover letters from the Special Deputy State Engineer to the State Engineer and Surveyor. The reports include contract number; location of construction; contractors; summary of work done; and percentage of work done. Laws of 1903 (Chapter 147) and 1909 (Chapter 267) provided for construction and improvements on canals, specified contracting procedures, and outlined the duties of the State Engineer in regard to such construction.
B0232. Monthly reports, 1921. 0.5 cu. ft.
Arrangement: Chronological by month.
These reports, submitted by the State Engineer and Surveyor to the Canal Board, pertain to work performed on various contracts for the construction of Barge Canal terminals. The reports provide the contract number, description of the contract, and a brief narrative detailing work completed or unusual problems encountered during the reporting period.
B0248. Engravings of plans, profiles, and maps accompanying the annual report of the State Engineer and Surveyor, 1859. 0.5 cu. ft. (15 printed engravings)
These engravings were compiled by Resident Engineer S.H. Sweet under the direction of State Engineer and Surveyor Van R. Richmond. They illustrate the "standard models from which are built the important structures on the New York State Canals." They depict timber locks, road bridges, aqueducts, truss bridges, dams, bulk heads, double locks, composite locks, farm bridges, waste weirs, culverts, and discharge pipes. The engravings were originally bound into a volume accompanying the 1859 Annual Report of the State Engineer and Surveyor.
Finding aids: Item list.
B0245. Opinions and abstracts of Attorney General's decisions, 1881-1895. 0.5 cu. ft.
Arrangement: Chronological by date of issuance.
These printed and manuscript opinions and decisions rendered by the Attorney General were filed with the State Engineer and Surveyor's office. A few deal with canal-related matters such as the sale of unappropriated lands; others concern grants of land under water, city and village elections, excise commissioners, corrupt practices act (Chapter 94 of the Laws of 1890), and the filing of marriage certificates. Each opinion or decision provides a brief discussion of the matter in doubt, citation and interpretations of acceptable laws, and the Attorney General's Final Statement.
A1143. Lists of appointments of assistant engineers and other employees, 1851-1900. 4 cu. ft.
Arrangement: Chronological by year and therein by division of canal.
This series consists of lists of appointments of assistant engineers, clerks, levelers, rodmen, chairmen, flagmen, draftsmen, and other engineering employees. Each entry on a list provides the name of appointee, nature of work, and compensation. The lists are signed by the State Engineer and Surveyor, division engineer, and resident engineer. The appointments were made by the Canal Commissioners pursuant to laws of 1817 (Chapter 262) and 1829 (Revised Statutes, Part I, Chapter 9, Title 9, Article 2, Section 15). A law of 1847 (Chapter 278) directed the Canal Commissioners to give engineers a copy of their appointments. Laws of 1850 (Chapter 377) and 1862 (Chapter 169) specified the number and duties of the various engineers.