The D&L Blog

Delaware & Lehigh - Journey Through the D&L: Looking Back & Moving Forward

As 2022 comes to a close, it’s always good to look back and reflect. There was a lot for Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor to be proud of this year and we want to celebrate that with you – our DLNHC Community.  

The first achievement starts at the very beginning of the year!

In January, we welcomed Dr. Rachel Lewis as Diversity Research Historian thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Museum & Education Director Daphne Mayer remarked on what a great addition to the team Rachel has been. “In her year with us, Rachel has completed some amazing research into Black canal workers along Anthracite canals. When we started the research project, we knew the names of two Black canal workers and now we have documented over 180!”

(You can view the interactive StoryMap created for this project here.)

A picture taken at the Rosie & Rivets Ribbon Cutting Member/Supporter Event. Left to Right: Director of Museum & Education Daphne Mayer, Diversity Research Historian Rachel Lewis, Historian Martha Capwell Fox, & Executive Director Claire Sadler.

In April, the National Canal Museum opened a wonderful 2022 exhibition, Beyond Rosie and Rivets: Industrial Women of the D&L Corridor. This special exhibit highlighted the contributions of women working in DLNHC’s local industries. Some of the women highlighted were even submitted by you! Kathleen Ward, Director of Advancement & Marketing, recalls our first member and supporter event of the year during the opening of this exhibit, and how much it meant.  

“That event brought out a record crowd for us and it was truly touching. It was the first time since 2020 that DLNHC members and supporters were able to come together in a significant way. The fact that we were able to do this during the opening of a new exhibit featuring women like my grandmother, who helped build our Corridor, made it even more meaningful.”  

(If you haven’t visited Rosie & Rivets yet, the exhibit closes on December 18, 2022. Take some to stop by the National Canal Museum for the final weekend if you can.) 

Another major success we’ve had was a bit more recent.

Speakers at the Allentown funding announcement. Left to Right: Executive Director Claire Sadler, PA DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, PA State Senator Pat Browne.

In November, DLNHC was able to coordinate a combined $7M state funding commitment. This will support D&L Trail development in and around Allentown. Director of Trails & Conservation Mandy Tolino said, “it was great to see so many different people – government and non-profit leaders as well as local citizens and longtime DLNHC supporters – gathered to show support for the D&L Trail.” 

With each funding announcement, every mile marked, and ribbon cut, DLNHC gets closer to a fully connected D&L Trail. The partnerships we make along the way and the relationships we build with our communities are what allow us to keep moving towards our goal.  

Because the DLNHC works towards creating connections- connections to the past and present, connections to nature, and connections to each other – hearing how people use the D&L Trail with their friends, visit the National Canal Museum with their families, or participate in one of our many programs proves that our mission is worthwhile. And for Executive Director Claire Sadler, this is what it’s all about. 

Claire Sadler at the Allentown funding announcement.

“It is uplifting for me. I love meeting people on the D&L Trail and seeing the calm that time in nature brings them. I love introducing myself to new volunteers and asking how they chose DLNHC as their organization to assist. I love seeing ALL ages and generations exploring the museum exhibits – building aqueducts, taking the transistor eye test, setting up an imaginative canal scene on the magnet board. I love the community that working at the DLNHC brings.”  

DLNHC has many plans for the future. The D&L Trail won’t be fully connected in a day; archiving and preserving history is a never-ending job. But we want you to be excited with us as we get ready to take on 2023.  

Our second annual State of the D&L Trail Address will be held in March (you can find materials from the first Address here). Shortly after that the National Canal Museum will open with a new special exhibition. Programming is ever-expanding and we’re always looking for new and unique ways to get our community involved.  

Finally, thank you.  

Thank you to our DLNHC community for the overwhelming support that you’ve provided during and that you continue to provide through every change and step we take. We hope that we also continue to inspire connections and live up to your expectations for our nonprofit in 2023 and beyond! 

DLNHC Staff surrounding the southern terminus of the D&L Trail in Bristol during a staff outing.

From the DLNHC Leadership Team