The Morris Canal at Waterloo Village Historic Site is a restored 19th century canal town in Byram Township, Sussex County in northwestern New Jersey. The community was approximately the half-way point in the roughly 102-mile (165 km) trip along the Morris Canal, which ran from Jersey City, NJ across New Jersey to Phillipsburg, PA
Waterloo Village mill town possessed all the accommodations necessary to service the needs of a canal operation, including an inn, a general store, a church and a blacksmith shop (to service the mules on the canal), and a gristmill. Waterloo's geographic location would have been conducive to being an overnight stopover point on the two-day trip between Phillipsburg and Jersey City.
The Morris Canal was an engineering marvel of its time! A system of 23 lift locks and 23 inclined planes enabled the canal to overcome more elevation changes than any other transportation canal ever built. Large changes in elevation were overcome using the canal’s famous inclined planes which were short, water-powered marine railways on which canal boats were pulled up or let down hillsides. The locks operated like water elevators, overcoming small changes in elevation. Mules were the power source that pulled boats across the State of New Jersey in five days.
The Morris Canal
The Morris Canal was crucial to the economy and development of northern New Jersey from the time of the waterway’s construction until after the Civil War. Running from Phillipsburg to Jersey City, the canal linked the anthracite coal fields of northern Pennsylvania with northern New Jersey’s iron industry, major industrial cities, and the New York area markets. Open from 1831 to 1924, the canal carried anthracite coal, iron ore, timber, limestone, and agricultural products.