Friday, May 20, 2005

Gowanus Canal History

The Gowanus Canal is located in Brooklyn, New York near the neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. It was once called the Gowanus Creek. The town of Gowanus was established in 1639 by the Dutch on what was a small tidal creek leading out into a bay. In 1700 one of the first settlers, Nicholas Vechte, built a farmhouse of brick and stone now known as the Old Stone House.

The Gowanus Canal Flushing Tunnel
The Gowanus Canal was once a very active waterway that was very important to the city's commerce, but it was heavily polluted by industrial dumping and sewage. The city built a "Flushing Tunnel" in the year 1911. The idea of the tunnel it that its operation will replace the stagnant water that the canal is famous for with fresh, oxygen-rich water that will improve water quality. The tunnel worked until the 1960's when mechanical failure caused the flushing tunnel to shut down and the canal became polluted and stagnet again. The city's Department of Environmental Protection completed the effort to restore the Gowanus Canal Flushing Tunnel. The tunnel operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, bringing fresh water into the canal. It's helping to keep the canal clean.