The Erie Canal
The Erie Canal is one of the single most important additions to this area.
The Erie Canal brought population to the area, economic commerce,
and gave rise to the surrounding communities.
During its heyday as “The Flour City” Rochester became known as America’s 1st boom town.
Without the construction of The Erie Canal
this would not have been possible.
The Erie Canal Facts:
It ran 363 miles
from the Hudson River
to Lake Erie.
It is one of the most
It is a
modern engineering marvel.
28 feet wide at the top
40 feet wide at the bottom
4 feet deep
the Atlantic Ocean
and its burgeoning cities
Great Lakes system.
It was completed in 1825.
It cost over 7 million dollars to construct.
It took 8-years to construct the Erie Canal.
It was constructed by
tens of thousands of laborers
working with hand tools.
Some people were very skeptical.
They called it
“Clinton’s big ditch”.
It transformed Rochester
“The Young Lion of the West.”
It was so big
18 aqueducts and 83 locks.
It led New York to industrialization.
It opened, not only western New York,
the entire Midwest and western United States
to settlement, agriculture, and industry.
It made the port of New York
the busiest in the nation.
After the Erie Canal’s construction,
new towns were built.
Rochester’s canal side villages and hamlets: Fairport, Pittsford, Bushnell’s Basin,
Spencerport and Brockport.
New York City became the fasted growing city.
The population went from
around 1,500 to 36,400.
But by 1850,
the population of New York was
around three million.
It cut the cost of shipping
from $100 a ton
to $8 a ton.
It brought New York City
& many tourists.
Some people viewed it as revolutionary.
The Erie Canal Timeline:
Early 18th Century:
The idea of canals has been around since the early eighteenth century.
The mayor of New York City,
De Witt Clinton
planned the construction of the Erie Canal.
He and Governor Morris went to Washington to ask for money to help construct the Canal.
They were turned down.
Clinton petitioned the New York State legislature.
The State of New York began construction on the Erie Canal on July 4, 1817.
The Rochester portion of the canal opened.
The population of Rochester began to soar.
The Erie Canal was completed.
Manufacturing in New York increased by 262%
It was able to ship 369,000 barrels of grain, making it a major grain processor.
They greatly enlarged the Erie Canal.
It was 70 feet wide and 7 feet deep.
They decreased the number of locks to 72.
They decided they were going to make
it even bigger.
12-14 feet deep
120-200 feet wide
363 miles long.
Then the number of locks
was increased by 57.
After a century of service
punctuated by widenings
to accommodate larger and larger vessels
the canal ceased to course through
the heart of downtown Rochester;
the amazing aqueduct over the Genesee River became the Rochester subway bed
and then the Broad Street Road bridge.
The New York State Barge Canal
was routed along the south border of the city, where it now crosses the Genesee River in Genesee Valley Park in a fascinating four-way water intersection.
The Erie Canal Present Day:
Today, the canal remains one of the great engineering marvels
and is a historical treasure.
The 363-mile Canalway Trail
runs from Albany to Buffalo
it intersects with the outstanding
Genesee Riverway Trail,
which bisects the city of Rochester,
Genesee Valley Park to Lake Ontario.
The Erie Canal is a popular site
for recreation all year-long.
The towpath is frequented by walkers, joggers, and bikers.
Mid-May to October you will find leisure boats, crew teams,
and tour boats on the waterway.
You will find beautiful villages and hamlets alongside the canal.
Palmyra, Macedon, Fairport, Bushnell’s Basin, Pittsford, Brighton, Greece,
Spencerport, and Brockport.
Each of these stops offers a unique experience.
All are located within the greater Rochester Area.
We love having the Erie Canal nearby The Nest Cottage.
We especially love to visit Fairport NY, my hometown.
It is fun to explore the charming village.
We love to walk the canal,
have a cold drink at one of the breweries
and grab a bite.
Be sure to check it out when you visit the area.