Page 4 - Albany Visitor's Guide 2017
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Photos provided by Erie Canalway
Top 3 ways to Experience t he ErieCanal Today
Get on the Water
You can cruise in your boat or get onboard a tour boat, seek out an overnight excursion, or rent a self- skippered canal boat. The waterway is also great for kayaking and canoeing.
ErieCanal Timeline
Cycle the Erie Canalway Trail
Walking or cycling on the Erie Canalway Trail offers a glimpse of what travelling across the state with a canal boat in tow might have been like. You can ride for a few hours or become an “end-to- ender” to experience it all.
Enjoy Festivals and Events
Hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors celebrate canal heritage each year at festivals along the water. You’ll find events that focus on food and beverages, crafts, boats, live music, recreation, re-enactments, and more.
September 10, 1823
Champlain Canal opens end to end.
October 1, 1823
The Genesee Aqueduct is complete and the Erie Canal is in operation from Rochester to Albany.
National Heritage Corridor
July 4, 1817
Ceremonial first digging for the Erie Canal takes place at Rome.
June 14, 1818
First boats pass through the locks at Seneca Falls.
October 22, 1819
Erie Canal between Rome and Utica is complete.
July 4, 1820
Syracuse celebrates completion of the Erie Canal from Utica to the Seneca River.
November 18, 1821
The flight of locks at Little Falls are complete, opening navigation from Montezuma to Schenectady.
April 15, 1817
NYS Legislature passes
the act to construct the Erie and Champlain Canals.
The Construction of the ErieCanal
by Anthony Opalka, Historian for the City of Albany
The original Erie Canal, constructed between 1817 and 1825, connected Albany on the Hudson River, with Buffalo, a small emerging village at the eastern end of Lake Erie. Over 360 miles in length, “Clinton’s Ditch,” as it was known, provided the first continuous connection by water between the eastern and western ends of New York State, and prior to the advent of the railroad, the canal was the primary means of transporting goods across the state.
The canal was discussed throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, and some smaller canals were constructed under the leadership of former Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler, but it wasn’t until DeWitt Clinton was elected governor of the state of New
York that the construction of the Erie Canal began in earnest.
Clinton took office on July 1, 1817, and three days later, construction of the canal
began at Rome, where there was a long flat plain east to Utica and nearly as far west as Syracuse. Early settlers and immigrants worked long hours with primitive tools to dig the canal. Within two years, 15 miles of the canal opened between Rome and Utica, and six years later in 1825, the entire stretch between Albany and Buffalo was complete. The canal was enlarged multiple times to make way for larger boats. Today, the Erie Canal and a network of connecting waterways are still in service as America’s most iconic and enduring man-made waterway.

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