A journey down the canal
Still the most scenic part of the canal: „Langer Trödel“ meaning „Long Tow“, the longest stretch of the canal uninterrupted by bridges or locks. Now under reconstruction for motor boats: dredging, new bridges, a new lock, and more traffic. The opening has been postponed again, probably until 2016.
While there were more than a dozen saw mills along the Finow Canal in the 19th century, few buildings are left to remind of a strong regional economy. And a barren landscape without trees. This sawmill, the „Hermannsmühle“ procured its lumber from Russia by water, shipping the processed lumber to their customers by railroad.
A „Copper Home“, one of the first prefab homes made locally by the Heegermühle Brass Factory and placed here as a model home in 1931 under the great architect Walter Gropius.
Bottom: Another one of the 8 model homes on this location, still inhabited.
Unfortunately not a single one of these memorable buildings has ever
been purchased, restored, and developed for public access.
Vat Paper Production
The vat paper production building, operated as a paper museum until 2013 Now closed.
All the machinery for hand-made paper production still in place, most of it functional.
The Borsig Hall
The Borsig Hall, a national industrial monument. Prototype of the first modular cantilever structure in Germany, model for all the railroad stations built in the steam era. Brought here from Berlin in 1848 as an extension to the local steelworks.
The „Anneliese“, the last Finow-Maßkahn. The Finow Canal defined the first national standard for the dimensioning of canals, locks and vessels in Germany. It was about 40m long, about 5 m wide, and it had a maximum draft of 1.4 meters. All Finow locks were built to accommodate two of these standard Finow Canal vessels.
Unfortunately, due to unfavorable operating conditions and a lack of local support, the Anneliese was sold, and with it another piece of cultural identity was lost.
This rusty steel structure is another industrial monument of our region. Right here on the Finow Canal there was the factory of Julius Moeller and Clemens Schreiber. They had invented a new process for mass-producing horseshoe nails and enjoyed the combined transportation means of the Finow Canal and the near-by Berlin-Stettin railroad. A problem was the height difference of 6 meters. So they asked the Berlin-based Borsig Corporation to build this hydraulic carriage lift that would raise and lower railroad carriages of up to 30 metric tons.
Today it is rusting away and vandalized with trash. Let’s hope that some day people will remember the value of their predecessors‘ inventions and integrate this monument into a European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH)
What an idyllic site. Wouldn’t this be a nice vacation property for a relaxing week on the Finow Canal? But no – it is just a place for the canal repair crew to store their equipment and take their lunch breaks. Maybe – some day …
Niederfinow ship lift
Now we have reached the bottom level looking back towards the Niederfinow ship lift. From here you have a choice: Either turn around and go back via the Oder-Havel Canal, or continue on towards the Oder river and the Baltic Sea.
This would be a site for geo tagging. Will you be able to locate the old lock flight that was replaced by the ship lift in 1934? The picture shows one of the four giant lock chambers of 9 meters each, completed in 1914. Now inaccessible to visitors (sort of).
Right next to the ship lift you may visit the old power station whose 3 diesel generators produced enough electricity to power the Niederfinow ship lift. The power station had to be moved here from its previous location due to the construction of the new ship lift.
Below the ship lift
Only one lock ahead before you enter the Oder. But that lock at Hohensaaten is no longer on the Finow Canal. Before you get there, yet beyond the ship lift you will find a long and wonderfully relaxing stretch of Finow Canal, now merged with the Oder-Havel Canal. Enjoy the scenery, moor at the city of Oderberg for a tour of the old castle ruins or the ship museum. Enjoy food at a local restaurant, or stay the night at Marina Oderberg.
Whatever you do: do come back and find out how exciting the return trip up the Finow Canal is!