Saturday, May 1, 2010


I've got an old mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
We've hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
And every inch of the way we know
From Albany to Buffalo

Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we're coming to a town
And you'll always know your neighbor
And you'll always know your pal
If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal

These are close to the original words written by Thomas S. Allen in 1905, after the days of mule power. The song has seen some changes since it was written. 
Who here doesn't know a version? It's sometimes seen as a childrens' song and is widely used to teach upstate history. It still gives me a strong sense of long days on the early canal, which is less than a mile from where we live, and a deep sense of community and accomplishment. The canal was dug and the locks built by Irish immigrants.
Pete Seeger and many others have recorded memorable versions. My favorite is Bruce Springsteen's.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in City Daily Photo's May Theme Day: Statues
The statue of mule and driver is beside Erie Boulevard across from the Weighlock Building in downtown Syracuse.

1 comment:

  1. Merry,

    This statue is my father's favorite. The Erie Canal museum is so interesting. My first dentist was a volunteer there when he retired and helped restore the canal boat I believe. He always had canal theme paintings in his office, some of his own brush. Paul is featured as a canal worker in a painting at the museum, artist Mark Topp.