ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) — Although the Erie Canal only took 8 years to create, it took nearly 100 years to begin construction. In 1825 the completed canal stretched 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo and opened up trade and transportation throughout the northeast.
“It’s really after this is created the Erie Canal, that they’re actually going to start calling New York the empire state. That’s because New York became the economic powerhouse of the country, thanks largely to this revolutionary transportation system.” – Derrick Pratt, Erie Canal Museum Educator
The project was everything but smooth sailing. There were several issues involving cost, logistics and how this could physically be constructed. After nearly a century of figuring out how to make this a reality, in 1800 New York governor DeWitt Clinton persuaded the state legislature to fund 7 million dollars for the construction of the canal. 17 years later, the shovels finally hit the ground.
“On July 4th 1817, Judge John Richardson will dig the first shovelful of dirt for the Erie Canal outside of Forte Bowl in Rome. And the rest as they say, is history.” – Derrick Pratt, Erie Canal Museum Educator
The canal was a great success and brought wealth, new ideas and diversity to the northeast that can still be recognized today.