October 20, 2021

Today in History: Erie Canal

Last Updated on December 12, 2019

Erie Canal Lock Ruins 37 and 38, Plan
Today in History–October 26–the Library of Congress features the Erie Canal, which opened on this day in 1825. Harnessing gravity, the 363-mile waterway flowed from Buffalo, New York on the east coast of Lake Erie to the upper Hudson River at Albany. Decried by many as “Clinton’s Folly”, New York Governor  DeWitt Clinton, the canal proved to be tremendously successful and encouraged settlement of the upper Midwest. Find out more about the Erie Canal by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access more primary sources and teaching resources related to this canal and other 19th-century transportation projects.

Little Falls Canal Celebration (America’s Library)

Marco Paul’s Travels on the Erie Canal: An Educational Voyage (lesson plan)

Captain Pearl R. Nye: Life on the Ohio and Erie Canal (folk songs)

Down by the Erie Canal (sheet music)

Erie Canal image set

Erie Canal legislation

Erie Canal documents

Erie Canal articles

Digging the Dirt at Public Expense (2004 paper)

Select newspaper articles (see 15 Years on the Erie Canal)

More Erie Canal historical newspaper coverage

Primary Source Spotlight: Transportation

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