The Rome Historical Society is set to host “Chenango Canal: The Million Dollar Ditch” a presentation and book signing with Wade A. Lallier on Thursday, August 15th at 7 pm.
With the completion of the Erie Canal across New York State, the construction of other canals then began to be proposed all along the Erie’s route. One of these lateral canals would connect the Susquehanna River at Binghamton to the Erie Canal in Utica. Though a survey of the route was conducted in 1825, it wasn’t until eight years later and after much legislative debate that the canal was finally authorized in 1833. With a proposed million-dollar budget, construction of the 97-mile long Chenango Canal began in 1834 and was completed in 1836.
Upon its opening, goods and resources including coal could then be cheaply shipped from the Southern Tier and Pennsylvania to the major markets in the Northeast. Although the canal was never profitable, it did bring some limited prosperity to the communities along its banks.
Wade Lallier, a resident of Deansboro, NY holds a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Syracuse University. He is a member of the Chenango Canal Association, which is dedicated to preserving the Chenango Canal and its history. Lallier currently serves as President of the Clinton Historical Society and will have copies of his book available to purchase.
The Rome Historical Society is located at 200 Church Street, Rome, and is a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. For more information, call (315) 336-5870, or visit their website.