History: ‘The Building Of The Erie Canal’ (1817-1825)

The Erie Canal is a 363-mile waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River in upstate New York. The channel, which traverses New York state from Albany to Buffalo on Lake Erie, was considered an engineering marvel when it first opened in 1825.

The Erie Canal provided a direct water route from New York City to the Midwest, triggering large-scale commercial and agricultural development—as well as immigration—to the sparsely populated frontiers of western New York, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and points farther west. The canal transformed New York City into the young nation’s economic powerhouse, and in 2000 the U.S. Congress designated the Erie Canal a National Heritage Corridor.

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