Rochester, New York City Guide
Rochester, NY City Guide

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Erie Canal, Rochester, New York


Erie Canal



  • Canal History.  Provided by the New York State Canals.
  • History of the Erie Canal.  Provided by the Department of History of the University of Rochester.
  • National Canal Museum.  "The Erie Canal was the most famous and successful of America's early towpath canals. The Erie Canal was able to breach the barrier of the Appalachian Mountains and link Lake Erie with the Hudson River. The Erie Canal was also an integral part of a larger system of New York state canals which bound together the Hudson River with Lake Champlain and the Canadian canals that flowed to the St. Lawrence River. Branches of this New York State Canal also linked the Finger Lakes and reached the Susquehanna River System." 



  • Erie Canal Discovery Center. "The Erie Canal Discovery Center had its genesis in 2002, when a few men of vision, met to consider the fate of a deteriorating 19th century structure near the canal in Lockport. Local folk knew that building as the Hamilton House, built as a Universalist Church, opened in 1843. In recent years, the building had met declining use by its owners, the First Presbyterian Church. The original committee was composed of Rev. Paul Couch of the First Presbyterian Church, Ben Kendig, Developer, Clint Starke, President-Niagara County Historical Society and former Lockport Mayor Thomas Sullivan. These men were interested in saving an historic landmark from the wrecking ball, an unfortunate fate common to most of the historic structures that once lined Main Street in Lockport." 
  • Erie Canal Museum.  "The Erie Canal Museum (ECM) is a private, nonprofit corporation founded in 1962. It is housed in the 1850 Weighlock Building, where canal boats were weighed during the days when they traveled through the center of Syracuse on the Erie Canal. A gallery full of participatory exhibits gives visitors a look at canal life and promotes hands-on- learning. The Museum has three special exhibits each year that draw on its nationally renowned artifact collection and historical research. Museum tours and specialty programs for all age groups are developed to entertain as well as educate. A variety of school programs are also offered by the Museum."
  • Erie Canal Village.  "Erie Canal Village is an outdoor living history museum. It is a reconstructed 19th century settlement on the site where, on July 4, 1817, the first shovelful of earth was turned for the construction of the original Erie Canal. Relax as our mule drawn Packet Boat plies a section of the enlarged canal giving visitors a taste of early 19th century water travel. Then board our narrow gauge steam train excursion and travel as you would have during the late 19th century.

    The village is home to three museums: The Erie Canal Museum, which unfolds the story of the Erie Canal from the first proposals for an improved route to the West through the emergence of the Barge Canal System in 1918; The Harden museum which exhibits a collection of horse drawn vehicles that range from utilitarian farm equipment to an elegant Laundaulet. In order to present a clearer view of 19th century travel, vehicles are placed on samples of three types of roads: dirt, plank and cobblestone; and third, The New York State Museum of Cheese building, which once housed the Merry and Weeks cheese factory in nearby Verona, NY. This building explores the history of cheese making and its relationship to the importance of the Erie Canal in New York State during the 19th century.

    In addition to the museums, other typical structures found during the 19th century can be viewed such as Bennett's Tavern, Blacksmith Shop, Railroad Station, Print Shop, Ice House, Wood Creek School, Maynard Methodist Church, Shull Victorian House, Settler's House, Crosby House and Canal Store." 

New York State


  • The Erie Canal Organization.  "The Erie Canal is famous in song and story. Proposed in 1808 and completed in 1825, the canal links the waters of Lake Erie in the west to the Hudson River in the east. An engineering marvel when it was built, some called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.

    In order to open the country west of the Appalachian Mountains to settlers and to offer a cheap and safe way to carry produce to a market, the construction of a canal was proposed as early as 1768. However, those early proposals would connect the Hudson River with Lake Ontario near Oswego. It was not until 1808 that the state legislature funded a survey for a canal that would connect to Lake Erie. Finally, on July 4, 1817, Governor Dewitt Clinton broke ground for the construction of the canal. In those early days, it was often sarcastically referred to as "Clinton's Big Ditch". When finally completed on October 26, 1825, it was the engineering marvel of its day. It included 18 aqueducts to carry the canal over ravines and rivers, and 83 locks, with a rise of 568 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. It was 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide, and floated boats carrying 30 tons of freight. A ten foot wide towpath was built along the bank of the canal for horses, mules, and oxen led by a boy boat driver or "hoggee."

  • New York State Tour Boat Association.  "New York State is waiting to provide you with a variety of exciting boating activities from old, well maintained historic vessels to sleek, modern, state-of-the-art dinner yachts..and everything in between.

    Whether your interest is oceans, rivers, lakes, canals, bays or even waterfalls, New York State has it. With over 3,000 miles of shore front, we've got lots of it!

    The New York State Tour Boat Association was formed in 1984 to promote the passenger vessel industry and to introduce travelers and vacationers to the magnificent, waterways of New York State."

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