The Pompton Feeder canal

Little remains of it today, but the “Pompton feeder” was an integral part of the Morris Canal system’s eternal need for water. The feeder was used to supply additional water level to the Morris Canal by channeling water from the Pompton River. The feeder was, in fact, a mini-canal that ran nearly five miles to Mead’s Basin (known as Mountain View today).

A wide, low dam was built on the Pompton River in Pompton Plains, NJ. This supplied a feeder lock which could, at the lock tender’s discretion, release water into the feeder canal.

Photo of the Pompton feeder dam.
Photo taken circa 1906 shows the wide, low feeder dam on the Pompton River.

This diagram shows the setup: the river supplies water to the feeder canal via a lock. A lock tender lived in a house on site to release water as needed.

Sketch of feeder dam and lock
From “History of Pequannock Township” (1990) by George Parr, p. 159

This early 20th Century shows the lock tender’s house.

Photo of the lock tender's house
The lock tender was always on call.

The feeder canal made for splendid recreation year round — fishing and swimming and canoeing in warm weather, and ice skating in the winter.

Photo of people canoeing on the feeder canal.
Canoeing was a popular pastime on the feeder canal. The bridge in the distance allowed traffic to cross the feeder.

The feeder canal more or less paralleled the Pompton River. In this photo, you can see the river and the canal side by side. The feeder canal is long gone, but the bridge still exists to carry the Newark Watershed pipeline over the river and on to the cities.

Pipe Line bridge in Pequannock NJ.