The Bottoming Out Story

The first issue of the Bottoming Out (BO) was sent out to members of the Society in October of 1956, shortly after the formation of the Canal Society at the annual meeting of the New York State Historical Association.

The size was the 5 by 7 format, and the first issue ran 8 pages. The title page read, "An informal record of study and exploration by members of the Canal Society of New York State". This ran for two issues, until issue #3, which adopted the title used today, "Useful and Interesting Notes Collected For the Members of The Canal Society of New York State". Most of the first issue was taken up with a list of Erie Canal structures. The content was made up of short snippets of canal information, old newspaper accounts and surprisingly good photos, along with longer features.

From 1956 to 1960, the BO was published on a fairly regular schedule. Some of the issues were treated as double issues, like July 1957 (numbered 3– 4), and July 1958 (numbered 7 – 8), as were others up to 1965. The years 1961, 1963 and 1964 were entirely missed.

After issue 23 - 24 in 1965, the BO was not published again until 1986, when President Grasso wrote with great anticipation about the return of BO. One issue was put out in 1986 and another in 1987, and then the BO went back into hibernation. In 1993, President Grasso and Craig Williams brought the BO back to life with issue #27. After this, the BO entered a period of outstanding leadership under Bill and Sue Ozell, who put the publication back on schedule. Their tenure lasted through issue #42 in 2001.

No issues were published from 2002 until the Spring of 2004 when Paul Bartczak took over the editorship of the BO. The format was changed to a standard 8 by 11 size, and the familiar yellow cover was gone was replaced with a glossy white paper.

Issues were printed during 2004 and 2005. No issues were published in 2006. Issue #46 came out in 2007 to highlight the efforts to save and move the Day Peckinpaugh.

In 2008, Michael Riley joined Paul B. as a co-editor of the BO with issue # 47. Since then the Society has labored to get the BO on a winter / spring and summer / fall schedule.

Bottoming Out has always been a publication where canal historians and enthusiasts can have their work seen by others who study the canals of New York. Your submissions are welcome.

Click here to download an sample Bottoming Out.