For nearly a century, the Delaware & Raritan Canal was one of America’s busiest canals, transporting mostly Pennsylvania coal to New York City during the Industrial Revolution. It was completed in 1834 and provided efficient access for freight barges between Philadelphia and New York City. Mules safely pulled the barges through the canal from an adjacent dirt path, known as a towpath.
The Belvidere and Delaware (“Bel Del”) Railroad was constructed along the D&R Canal in 1851 to transport goods and ultimately ended operation in the mid-20th century. The railroad was officially abandoned in 1978, shortly after being taken over by Conrail. Despite its proximity to downtown Trenton, its potential as a passenger line was never fully explored.
In addition to being an important boundary for the Creek to Canal Creative District, the D&R Canal is a state park that flows through the heart of Trenton (and Battle Monument park, in this photo on Warren Street). It's also on the National Register of Historic Places. The old towpath now serves as a scenic recreation trail that runs for 58 miles, connecting Trenton with Princeton and New Brunswick to the east and with Lambertville and Frenchtown to the northwest.
delaware & raritan canal