Erie Canal Bicentennial

The Construction of the Erie Canal

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. 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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