Delaware Canal in Historic Bristol Borough Daylighting Project


  • Delaware Canal in Historic Bristol Borough, Bucks County, Pennsylvania


In the 1960s, portions of the Delaware Canal in Historic Bristol Borough were filled in, covered up, and, to some degree, forgotten. There were good reasons at the time for filling in the canal: It was no longer needed for the transportation of materials to the industries and businesses that thrived in the community, it held stagnant water and debris and it smelled and was a public nuisance.

Times Change

Today, however, it may be advantageous to open or “daylight” portions of the canal, as a restored inland waterway will

  • revive an important historic feature of Historic Bristol Borough,
  • provide access and recreation opportunities for Borough residents, and
  • have positive economic impacts for adjoining businesses, the Mill Street commercial area and the overall community.

The Bucks County Planning Commission recently recommended that representatives from the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School (which is being moved from its current location over the filled Canal), Bristol Borough and the Delaware Canal State Park meet to discuss reopening the Canal to provide an extension to the Bucks County regional link park network. Additionally, the Bucks County Waterfront Revitalization Plan and Bristol Borough, through its updated Comprehensive Plan of 2006, recommended that the filled-in portions of the canal be restored.

Project Purpose

The purpose of this effort is intended to set the stage for the opening of the canal from Washington Street to the land that is the site of the Snyder-Girotti Elementary School. Several public meetings were held to keep the community informed during the process. This report, which was commissioned by the Historic Delaware Canal Improvement Corp. (HDCIC) and Friends of the Delaware Canal, contains all of the findings.

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