1817: While serving as New York's sixth Governor, DeWitt Clinton was largely responsible for the construction of the Erie Canal, a manmade waterway connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via Albany.
Though opponents dubbed the canal "Clinton's Ditch," it proved to be very successful, ushering in an age of manufacturing, population shifts, and economic prosperity.
In 2000, the United States Congress designated the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to recognize the national significance of the canal system as the most successful and influential human-built waterway and one of the most important works of civil engineering and construction in North America.
When the Canal was finished in 1825, Governor Clinton opened it, sailing in the packet boat Seneca Chief along the Canal into Buffalo. After sailing from the mouth of Lake Erie to New York City he emptied two casks of water from Lake Erie into New York Harbor, celebrating the first connection of waters from East to West at the Wedding of the Waters.
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