Today in History: Erie Canal

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.

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 texts

Select newspaper articles

More Erie Canal historical newspaper coverage

U.S. Reports: Wabash and Erie Canal vs. Beers, 66 U.S. (1 Black) 54 (1862)

U.S. Reports: Trustees of the Wabash and Erie Canal Company vs. Beers, 67 U.S. (2 Black) 448 (1863)

Erie Canal legislation

Little Falls Canal Celebration America’s Library

15 Years on the Erie Canal Inside Adams

Fifteen Years on the Erie Canal: Teaching About an Almost-Forgotten Form of Transportation Teaching with the Library of Congress

Two Hundred Years on the Erie Canal DPLA online exhibition

Digging the Dirt at Public Expense 2004 paper

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

Primary Source Spotlight: Transportation