Adventures Along The
Lehigh & Delaware CanalsLet's Begin
Welcome to the Tales of the Towpath website. This companion website includes historical and educational info, photos, maps, quizzes, Amulet side quests, and other activities for students as they read Finn Gorman's story. Learn more, get the book, begin the journey, or access teacher resources.
Tales of the Towpath is the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and National Canal Museum flagship education program. Standardized third through fifth grade social studies/ language arts curriculum. Learn More »
About Tales of the Towpath
Tales of the Towpath is the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and National Canal Museum’s flagship education program. Tales of the Towpath is a standardized third through fifth grade social studies/ language arts curriculum. It introduces students to Pennsylvania on a local “backyard” scale in an academic yet entertaining and engaging way. Tales is set in an era when the Lehigh Valley was leading America into the Industrial Revolution.
The story is based on the life of Finn Gorman, an Irish immigrant whose adventures along the Lehigh and Delaware canals in the 1850s introduce him to the rise of the canals and the birth of the Industrial Revolution in eastern Pennsylvania. The story is told through a historical fiction 24 chapter story book based on actual events and real and fictional people who lived and worked in the region in the mid 19th century. Throughout the tale student’s will be exposed to the local industries of coal, iron, lumber and agriculture. The history of this important part of the Lehigh Valley’s - and America’s - past, as well as the background of many familiar towns and cities, is conveyed through Finn’s adventure.
This website includes companion information and activities to share with your students as you read the story. You will find historical pictures, videos, both historical and educational, maps, and extra information. You will also find a quiz for each section, a key terms section, and an interactive map with even more information. There is also a section specifically made with bonus activities to do as Finn interacts with his “amulet” throughout the story. Included in the website is also a downloadable version of the book, an audio version and PDF of the teacher’s manual. As well as links to outside websites, potential field trips, and links to purchase additional materials for this curriculum.
This curriculum is a standardized social studies and language arts curriculum made in line with the state standards. However, there is no set standard to teach Tales of the Towpath. Instead, there are a myriad of tools in the form of lessons and assessments, website opportunities, photos, illustrations, and trunk items as well as both in person field trips and virtual programming that can be used as a springboard for creative enrichment.
If you are interested in our other curricular offerings we have another curriculum for high school and college age students called Cultural Ecology. Please visit our website for more information.
Tales of the Towpath received the 2011 “Outstanding Program of Excellence” award from the Pennsylvania Council for Social Studies.
Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
The Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor preserves, interprets and leverages the nationally significant history of the 165-mile transportation route between Wilkes-Barre and Bristol, Pennsylvania. By building and maintaining public and private partnerships, we create four vital connections.We connect people to the enduring industrial heritage of the Corridor through education and preservation of historic sites and cultural resources.
We connect people to health and wellness through outdoor recreation by reclaiming the historic transportation route as the D&L Trail. We connect towns and cities to opportunities for economic development along the D&L Trail and Corridor. We connect people to nature and the environment through conservation and education. We are working on educational field trip options that are more in line with conservation, health, and the environment. If you are interested in setting up a field trip that is more in line with those initiatives please contact us.
The National Canal Museum
The National Canal Museum is dedicated to telling the story of America’s historic towpath canals. The museum occupies the first floor of the Elaine and Peter Emrick Technology Center in beautiful Hugh Moore Park, a 520-acre City of Easton park nestled between the Lehigh Canal and Lehigh River.
The National Canal Museum interprets the history and culture of canals as well as the science and technology behind their building, through exhibits and hands-on activities. Children and adults can harness a mule, steer a canal boat, and engage in activities that help them learn how canals were built. The museum has an outstanding collection of scale model canal boats and tools used in the boat-building business. There is also a water table where visitors young and old can build their own canal system, and exhibits interpreting canal life and canal-related industries. We offer a variety of in person field trips and virtual presentations to enrich our Tales curriculum. If you are interested check out our website for more information.
Tales of the Towpath author, Dennis Scholl, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the Pennsylvania State University and has worked as a staff writer and editor for the Bethlehem Globe-Times newspaper and Rodale Press magazines. Dennis also served as an elementary school environmental education consultant for nine years. He edited and co-authored a new curriculum for high school students called Cultural Ecology which was published in 2020. He worked for the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor in many capacities for many years before retiring in 2019. He resides in Hellertown, Northampton County.
Illustrator Dennis Gerhardt graduated from Philadelphia College of Art with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design. He served in the United States Marine Corps as a Lance Corporal and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal for service during the Vietnam War. As an industrial designer, Dennis designed visitor centers, museums, and Trade show exhibits. He worked with architects and designers for more than 35 years. Dennis had a long interest in early Pennsylvania transportation and history and has produced numerous pen and ink drawings and watercolors. In addition to his work for Tales of the Towpath, Dennis has produced a series of drawings for displays along the Delaware Canal in New Hope. Dennis resided outside of Quakertown, Bucks County, with his wife Maria, until his passing in February 2019.