Celebrating 175 Years

of Navigation on the Erie Canal

In commemorarion of the opening of rhe Erie Canal in 1825, the New York Srare Canal System and its necklace of canal communities are celebraring 175 years of navigation on the canal this year.

The warerway, whi ch began to rake shape when Governor De Win Clinton persuaded the state legislature to aurhorize $7 million for irs construcrion, rook seven years to build,

currhrough 363 miles of wilderness and swamps, and featured 18 aqueducrs and 83 locks wirh a rise of 568 feer from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.

On 26 October 1825, Governor Clinton boarded rhe packer boat Seneca Chief and made his way from Buffalo to Albany ro announce the opening of the canal.

From rhere he proceeded on to New York Ciry on rhe broad warers of rhe Hudson River.

and empried rwo casks of warer from Lake Erie inro the Atlanric seaport of New York, celebraring rhe “Marriage of rhe Warers.

” Governor Clinton pours water from Lake Erie into New York harbor, symbolically “wedding the waters” in 1825.

As a resulr of rhis mingling of warers, new towns and cities were carved into the landscape of upstate New York along the new canal, and New York Ciry,

whose seaborne trade provided the immense capital resources needed to construct rhe canal, rapidly expanded,

building on irs already formidable lead as rh e largest seaporr of rhe Americas.

 The explosion of rrade prophesied by Clinton began, spurred by grain freighr rares from Buffalo to New Yorkof$10 per ton, compared wirh $100 per ton by road.

In 1829, rhere were 3,640 bushels of whear transported down rhe canal.

By 1837 rhis figure had increased to 500,000 bushels; fo ur years larer ir reached one million. In nine yea rs, canal rolls more rhan recouped rhe emire cosr of construcrion.

Four waterways (the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Oswego and Champl ai n Canals) evenrually cur paths through New York, gliding past fertile farmland,

famous banlefields, scenic The canal town of Fairport, New York, provides a haven far pleasure boats amidst modern and historic tourist sites.

(Courtesy NYS Canal Corp) port towns and thriving wildlife preserves.

The currenr 524-mile NYS Canal System connecrs with hundreds of miles oflakes and rivers across the Empire Srate,

linking the Grear Lakes wirh rhe Hudson River and rhe inland warerways of rhe Easr Coasr.

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