The Cape Cod Canal, the widest artificial waterway in the world, was opened in 1914. It’s a surprise to many that a canal almost came through Randolph, Avon, Brockton, Bridgewater, Raynham and Taunton rather than Sandwich and Bourne.
In the early years of the 20th century “The New York, Brockton and Boston Canal” proposed waterways as a transportation necessity throughout the country. Not a casual intent but a researched plan with topographical photographs, trade tables, cost tables and shipping tables – a serious scientific study.
The canal cut would have been 102,000 feet long, 200 feet wide and 26 feet deep with a 250 foot right of way on each side of the bank. It would include 14 locks and 15 highway and five railroad bridges with 100 foot clearances.
Enter Judge Lloyd E. Chamberlain of Brockton, Massachusetts – Judge of Probate for Plymouth County, President, Massachusetts State Board of Trade. Brockton Board of Trade and Vice President of the National Inland Waterways Commission. Judge Chamberlain was an ardent proponent of the Brockton Canal proposal. Returning from a 1909 convention of the Atlantic Deeper Waterways Association of Virginia, Judge Chamberlain said: “I returned more deeply impressed than ever before with the merit of what is today known as the ‘Brockton Canal.’ . . . “it is of sufficient importance for the president of the United States to give his thought and presence.”
Costs? $57,618,358 - while The Cape Cod Canal was projected as $10,000,000. The Brockton Canal never happened.