With the opening of the entire Erie Canal in 1825, a call for more canals and other internal improvements arose from all over New York State. People in many legislative districts thought that if the state could build a canal that had already shown its great value, it could also provide infrastructure projects to help regional economies to connect with the artificial river that joined the interior Great Lakes and the global market through Albany and New York City. This was also the case coming from the legislative representatives from Montgomery County and although many lateral canals would be subsequently surveyed, planned and some would even be built, perhaps the most intriguing was one that never had a shovel turned.
As early as 1826, citizens from Montgomery County were calling for a plan to connect the Erie Canal – which already ran through the county on the south side of the Mohawk River – to the industrializing area around the county seat of Johnstown and further into the wilderness to the north for raw materials. Inhabitants of Montgomery and Hamilton Counties formally called upon the New York State Senate through the Canal Commission for a survey to be conducted and a planned canal from Caughnawaga (present day Fonda) up the Sacandaga River Valley (Journal of the NYS Senate 49 Sess 1826). The original intention was to have a canal of over 30 miles and elevation increase of 350 feet that would connect the Erie Canal to the waters of what is now known as the lower Adirondacks. That could therefore be connected to the head waters of the Hudson River and also through a series of lakes to the Raquette River and the St. Lawrence River. Senators knew that in order to populate that region of the state and exploit its natural resources, some forms of improvements would be necessary. However, their concerns grew over the expense and circuitous route the canal would need to travel. The senate forwarded the recommendation to the committee on canals were it apparently lay dormant. Continue reading
Twelve images that capture the beauty and character of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor have been selected as winners of the 12th Annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest.
Winning images will be featured in the 2018 Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Calendar, which will be available for free in December.
Judges selected twelve winners from nearly 300 entries. First, second and third place photographs were chosen in each of four contest categories: Classic Canal, Along the Trail, On the Water, and Canal Communities. In addition, twelve photographs received an honorable mention. Continue reading
This year marks the onset of the bicentennial of the construction of the Erie Canal. As part of that event the world conference of canals is being held this September in Syracuse with various field trips to canal-related sites. In this post, I wish to address one aspect of the creation of the Erie Canal that often goes unnoticed: its role in the debate over Noah’s Flood.
The 1820s was known as the diluvial decade. The reference is the search for geological evidence of Noah’s Flood. The decade was on the cusp of the emergence of geology as a full-blown science in its own right with the publication of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology; being an attempt to explain the former changes of the earth’s surface, by reference to causes now in operation (1830-1833). Eventually there would be a new “ology” in colleges as knowledge fractured into the silos that define the modern university with diverse specialties and expertise. Continue reading
A program highlighting some of the most innovative activities on the world’s waterways is set to take place September 24-28 at the 2017 World Canals Conference (WCC 2017) in Syracuse.
The conference provides opportunities to learn from and network with the most forward-thinking experts in canalside development, waterway engineering and management, and canal tourism and preservation.
Registration is open for one-day or full conference attendance through September 15. Continue reading
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor has announce the launch of a new online NYS Canalway Water Trail map to help paddlers enjoy the Mohawk River/Erie Canal. The interactive map covers 128-miles from Rome to Waterford and includes launch sites, canoe/kayak rental facilities, camp sites, amenities, and attractions. Plans are underway to expand to the entire NYS Canal System within two years.
The website also includes information on paddling safety and how to go through a lock. Continue reading
This week on “The Historians” podcast, tugboat captain and historian Art Cohn discusses canal schooners, the tractor trailers of the Erie Canal. Cohn was interviewed during the summer tour of the replica canal schooner Lois McClure. Also on this episode, a visit to an authors’ fair at the Fulton County Museum in Gloversville. Listen to the podcast here. Continue reading
As part of a statewide commemoration of the Erie Canal’s 200th anniversary, the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site in Fort Hunter and the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse will host a lecture by Dr. Carol Sheriff, author of The Artificial River, Sunday, July 23, at 4 pm inside the newly renovated Visitors Center at 129 Schoharie Street.
Reflections on Erie’s Waters is a collaboration between The Erie Canal Museum and The Canal Society of New York State to commemorate the waterway’s bicentennial and examine its legacy and future through diverse viewpoints. Reflections presents an inclusive view of the Erie Canal, examines its relevance and importance and heightens awareness of its historical impact, current significance and future potential through a series of workshops, lectures and exhibits. Continue reading
VoteTilla set out from Seneca Falls on July 17 at 10 am, traveling the Erie Canal towards its first landing at Clyde, NY at 3:45 pm.
Scheduled events in Clyde included an official welcome from local dignitaries and a Community Picnic with a Bluegrass Band and VoteTilla Reenactors performing “Roots of Social Reform.” Continue reading
Along the Erie Canal, Buffalo, N.Y. (No. M 71, Buffalo News Co., Buffalo, N.Y.) courtesy ErieCanal.org
On July 4, 1817, at Rome, New York on a site now occupied by the Worthington Industries Steel plant, there was a ceremony allegedly turning the first spade of earth on the construction of the Erie Canal, one of the most important public works projects in history.
As we approach the Bicentennial of the Canal’s construction, we would do well to better understand this history and its importance. On July 2, 2017 there will be a march through Lower Manhattan sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Historical Association celebrating this event. Continue reading
The 2017 World Canals Conference (WCC 2017) has announced its key speakers for this year’s event, set to take place September 24-28 in Syracuse. The conference provides a world-class program that highlights some of the most exciting and innovative activities on the world’s waterways. WCC 2017 speakers hail from around the globe, including experts from France, Poland, Scotland, Korea, the U.K., the Netherlands and the U.S. Continue reading