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March 12, 2009

Erie Canal Mules

Have you ever heard the song "Low Bridge"? When I was a young child I had a storybook with beautiful color pictures to go along with the lyrics to that song. I used to study each picture with awe, and imagine what it must have been like to live in that time when mules pulled the barges up and down the Erie Canal.

Mules pulling barge on Erie Canal

If you haven't heard the song before, here is a recording of the tune:


Your browser doesn't support the EMBED tag, but you can still listen to the music on this page by <a href="http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/midi/e014.mid">clicking here.</a>

Low Bridge
By Thomas S. Allen

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

Chorus:
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
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

We'd better get along on our way, old gal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
'Cause you bet your life I'd never part with Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
Git up there mule, here comes a lock
We'll make Rome 'bout six o'clock
One more trip and back we'll go
Right back home to Buffalo

Chorus

Oh, where would I be if I lost my pal?
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
Oh, I'd like to see a mule as good as Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
A friend of mine once got her sore
Now he's got a busted jaw
Cause she let fly with her iron toe
And kicked him in to Buffalo

Chorus

Don't have to call when I want my Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
She trots from her stall like a good old gal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
I eat my meals with Sal each day
I eat beef and she eats hay
And she ain't so slow if you want to know
She put the "Buff" in Buffalo

Chorus


I was just thinking of this song again the other day, and thought it would be fun to look for some more photos of the Erie Canal mules. Here are a few of my favorites:

Painting of barge mules preparing for a day of work

A boy driving a team of mules along the canal at Lyons, New York

Photographs from the Ohio-Erie Canal

More barge mules in harness


Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at March 12, 2009 11:48 PM

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