Facts about Erie Canal
- Length, Albany to Buffalo (original Erie Canal)363 miles
- Number of locks, 1825 - 83
- Number of locks, present day - 57
- Elevation change, Albany to Buffalo - 571 feet
- Canal dimensions, 1825 Original Erie - 4 ft deep x 40 ft wide; locks 90 ft long
- Canal dimensions, 1862 Enlarged Erie 7 ft deep x 70 ft wide; lock 110 ft long
- Number of aqueducts to bypass rivers and streams 18
Travel time from Albany to Buffalo, 1825- 5 days
The present society cannot even maintain it.
The Official History Possibly Incorrect:
Constructed in 1825, the Erie Canal is considered the “Gateway to the West,” as it connected the port city of Buffalo with other cities along the Great Lakes, as well as the port of New York City.
According to the Erie Canalway Heritage Center, travel from Albany to Buffalo took two weeks by stagecoach in 1825, but the Erie Canal shortened the journey to five days. The Erie Canal brought goods and passengers, which directly contributed to Buffalo’s prosperity in trade and helped support its growth in culture, architecture and the arts in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Canal helped Buffalo eventually become the largest inland port in the nation as well as the unofficial grain capital of North America, which led to the construction of the city’s famous grain elevators, now used to host live performances, events and historical tours.
Among the canal district there were also warehouses, businesses, saloons, shops, residences, and hotels supported by the business and tourism fostered by the canal.
In the late 1800s, railroads became increasingly dominant and complemented the canal in supporting Buffalo’s economic and cultural growth.
Buffalo’s outer harbor also played a significant role in the city’s economy and history. Located just outside of Erie Canal Harbor on the banks of Lake Erie, the outer harbor became home to “heavy manufacturers” producing cement, copper, steel, and other important materials that contributed to the city’s industrial growth.
The Outer Harbor factories also provided many blue-collar jobs, which helped contribute to the “hardworking culture and down-to-earth disposition of the region and its residents,” according to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.
While most of the city’s factories have since shut down, most Buffalonians will agree that the city’s blue-collar work ethic and gritty mentality remains.