This is a full-semester photographic study of the canals which served industrial Philadelphia, focusing on the Schuylkill and Delaware Canals. The canals have complex life cycles, and this photographic series captures the dichotomy of activities between the original structures and use of the canals as a means for transportation as well as their current state as recreational zones alongside vibrant towns like New Hope, Manayunk, and Frenchtown.
Both canals were constructed in the mid-19th century and used mainly to transport coal to Philadelphia over the next hundred years. The Schuylkill and Delaware Canals run through different parts of Pennsylvania and interact differently with the towns and activity around them. Being constructed as part of the same plan, many of the original locks, aqueducts, bridges, and surrounding architecture look fairly similar at both canals. This photo essay aims to show the development of the surroundings over time and that, while it makes the canals unique, their shared history still holds them together.