When students from Prof. Bill Keat's Mechanics I
class tested their “stump-pullers” just before finals last term
at the Erie Canal Lock 23 restoration project, they were doing the work
much the same way the builders of the canal did a century and a half ago.
“This really makes you appreciate the old guys who
had to do this by hand,” said one student as he was pulling a rope to
try to loosen a stubborn stump. “Yeah,” replied another,
“but they had oxen to pull the ropes.”
Lock 23, a half-mile west of Lock 8 along the
Mohawk-Hudson Bikepath, has been adopted by civil engineering students and
other volunteers who plan to restore it for a park. Program director is
Prof. Andrew Wolfe, who insists that students can best appreciate the
engineering of the lock by doing much of the work the way the original
builders did in 1840.