Historical Marker to Be Dedicated at Shinnecock Canal Tuesday

The Shinnecock Canal locks.
The Shinnecock Canal locks. Photo credit: Roger Rowlett

For its historical and engineering significance, the Shinnecock Canal will be given a historical marker on Tuesday.

The marker will be unveiled during a 1 p.m. dedication ceremony, said Southampton Town Clerk Sundy A. Schermeyer. It will be placed on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays.

Shinnecock is New York State’s first saltwater canal, opened in 1892, connecting the Shinnecock and Great Peconic bays. According to the clerk’s office the canal is “said to be the site of a Native American portage that pre-dated the English settlement of Southampton.”

“The Historic Division of the Office of the Town Clerk received funding for the historical marker from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation Historic Roadside Marker Grant Program,” the office stated. “The foundation believes that historic markers play an important role in local historic preservation by commemorating significant historic people, places and things within the time frame of 1740-1900.”

Town Historian Zach Studenroth said the Shinnecock Canal began construction in 1884 and opened in 1892. “The lock system was added in 1919 to address the dramatic differences in tide levels between the two bays, which can approach 3 feet,” the clerk’s office said. “Like the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825, the Shinnecock Canal became part of a statewide system of waterways that were some of the most important works of civil engineering and construction of their day.”

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