Today in History: Erie Canal Opens
The Boss certainly popularized our understanding of this significant waterway, where low bridges were common and locks were plenty. Men and mules pulled barges as they walked along a typical 15 mile per day tow path. If you check out Springsteen’s lyrics and interesting facts and photos, you’ll get a sense of the magnitude of the work, from the construction of the canal, to the real labor of trade.
Connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River, the Erie Canal opened on October 26, 1825. After more than two years of digging by mostly Irish laborers, the 425-mile long Erie Canal would prove a highly successful and cost effective means not only to transport goods, but to encourage re-settlement in Western New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Responsible for spearheading the project, Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York presided at the opening ceremonies and rode Seneca Chief, the canal boat, all the way from Buffalo to New York City.
The following articles are selected from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
- New York Is Used to Celebrations. (1909, Sep 27). The Hartford Courant (1887-1922)
- Traveling on the Erie Canal. (1916, Oct 21). The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Opening of the Erie Canal. (1916, Nov 14). San Francisco Chronicle (1869-Current File)
- The Erie Canal Has a Birthday. (1917, Jul 15). New – York Tribune (1911-1922)
- Mark 1825 Opening of the Erie Canal. (1921, May 13). New York Times (1857-1922)
This Day in History. (1945, Oct 26). Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963)
- Ross, D. (1954, Oct 24). Thruway Traces Way West on Historic Route; Mohawk Valley Route Recalls Parallel of Canal. New York Herald Tribune (1926-1962)
- Blumenthal, Ralph. Special to The New York Times. (1975, May 15). Erie Canal Given 5 Birthday Cakes As It Reaches 150. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Cocco, M. (1985, May 21). 160 Years on the Erie Canal: The Locks Live On. Newsday (1940-1988)
- From Albany to Buffalo ‘The Erie Is A’risin’. (1981, Aug 16). The Hartford Courant (1923-1991)
- Perez, J. (1985, Nov 10). Can the Erie Canal Generate Both Power and Tourism? New York Times (1923-Current File)
- What can we learn from a Rothman lantern slide depicting the opening of the Erie Canal?
- How did New College approach the teaching of geography, including the region of the Erie Canal Belt?
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