10 how did boats travel through the erie canal Ideas

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Erie Canal Cruises

THE DITCH THAT CHANGED THE FACE OF AMERICA
by CAPTAIN JERRY GERTZ

The Erie Canal is the most successful waterway in North America. It shaped the course of settlement and commerce between the Atlantic Seaboard and the interior of our country. The Erie not only made New York the “Empire State” and New York City the world’s leading seaport, but also contributed to the creation of the United States as a Superpower and the leader of the world’s economy—not bad for a skinny ditch of only 40’ wide and 4’ deep!!

The dream of opening up the interior of our country, by building a canal, had been discussed for decades prior to the actual beginning of construction in 1817. The Appalachian Mountain Range posed a formidable barrier between the states bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the vast, mostly uninhabited “Northwest Territories” on the west side of the mountains. In order for a young America to grow, prosper and indeed survive, it would be necessary to find a way through those mountains and open up those western lands to settlers and commerce.

Luckily, nature had bestowed upon New York State the only low level, natural opening through the Appalachians between Georgia and New York—-the Mohawk Valley. This opening would be the key to making the dream of building the canal a reality!

While the canal had many “fathers”, its foremost proponent and promoter was DeWitt Clinton. A visionary and astute politician, Clinton had been a U.S. Senator and was the ten time mayor of New York City. He believed that his city could only become a major economic force by the building of the Erie Canal. After years of hard campaigning, his tireless efforts promoting the concept of the Erie Canal finally paid off and on July 4, 1817 construction began at Rome, NY.

That first canal was dug almost entirely by hand. The canal was only 40’ wide by 4’ deep. It ran 363 miles across the state from Albany to Buffalo and had 83 locks. The locks raised vessels a total of 565’ between those two cities, an amazing engineering feat for 1825. The first barges were towed by mules or horses along towpaths. These barges (14 ½ feet wide and 78 feet long) could carry 30 tons of cargo while being towed by only one mule.

The canal was completed in only 8 years at a cost of $7,000,000. When completed on October 26, 1825, DeWitt Clinton (by then Governor of New York) boarded a vessel, the Seneca Chief, in Buffalo and headed to New York City. Arriving at NYC on November 4th , the Seneca Chief and Clinton became the first to travel the canal’s entire length. Upon arriving in NYC Clinton poured two kegs of fresh water from Lake Erie into the salt water of the Atlantic (New York Harbor) in a ceremony known as the “Wedding of the Waters”— this was the official opening of the canal.

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The canal was an immediate success and reduced freight rates by over 95%. The Northwest Territories experienced unprecedented settlement and ultimately became the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana. The cost to build the canal was totally paid off from the tolls collected in the canal’s first nine years of operation.

By 1835 traffic became so overwhelming that it was necessary to improve and enlarge the canal. When the enlargement was finally completed in 1862 the canals capacity had been increased eight fold and was, once again, extremely successful.

By the 1890’s railroads had taken away all of the canals passenger business and most of its cargo business. By 1900 a new larger canal—The Erie Barge Canal—was being planned.

Construction began in 1905 and was completed in 1918. By utilizing “canalized” natural waterways, the new canal would be much larger, faster and better able to compete with the railroads The Erie Barge Canal would be the first canal to use motorized vessels, therefore eliminating the mules, horses and towpaths.

The Erie Barge Canal’s success was due primarily to its transport of petroleum products. Its peak cargo carrying year was 1951. After 1960 more modern technology (oil pipelines, our Interstate Highway System, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway) began to obsolete the Erie Barge Canal as a cargo carrying waterway. As cargo declined, recreational boats began utilizing the canal and in 1992 New York State began a series of improvements and upgrades with recreational boating and tourism in mind.

Today this amazing waterway, still fully operational, has become a “yacht highway”. The Erie Canal now caters to thousands of recreational vessels from all over the world as well as tour boats such as one of the Lil’ Diamond vessels, cruise ships, canoes, fishing boats and kayaks. Some vessels use the canal as a destination. Others use it as a means of completing a popular boat trip known as the “Great Circle Cruise”, a 5,600 mile circumnavigation of the eastern half of the United States that typically takes 5-7 months to complete. In 2005 over 1,700 vessels were on this cruise and passed through the Erie Canal.

Today you don’t need your own boat to enjoy this marvelous and historic waterway. Tourists and locals alike can now board a tour boat, such as a Lil’ Diamond vessel, and relive history by taking a 1 ½ hour cruise on the canal while hearing about the canals history and traveling through a lock. Being raised or lowered 20 feet inside the lock walls is an experience not soon forgotten.

The complete NYS Canal System is 524 miles long and consists of four canals– the Erie, Oswego, Champlain and the Cayuga-Seneca. All four canals are contemporary and fully operational.

In December of 2000 the Federal Government designated all of the NYS Canal System the 23rd National Heritage Corridor in the nation. In 2016 the Erie Canal along with the whole NYS Canal system was designated a National Historic Monument.

With these designations and New York State’s strong commitment to the preservation of these four canals rich heritage, the essential steps have been taken to ensure the canals historic legacy will be preserved as a vital resource to be enjoyed by future generations to come.

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History | Erie Canal Cruises

History | Erie Canal Cruises

  • Author: eriecanalcruises.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (278584 rating)

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  • Sumary: Learn more about the history of the Erie Canal and how it all began. There is much to learn about this canal in New York.

  • Matching Result: The locks raised vessels a total of 565′ between those two cities, an amazing engineering feat for 1825. The first barges were towed by mules or horses along …

  • Intro: History | Erie Canal Cruises THE DITCH THAT CHANGED THE FACE OF AMERICA by CAPTAIN JERRY GERTZ The Erie Canal is the most successful waterway in North America. It shaped the course of settlement and commerce between the Atlantic Seaboard and the interior of our country. The Erie not only…
  • Source: https://eriecanalcruises.com/history/

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The Canal System Today

The Canal System Today

  • Author: eriecanalway.org

  • Rating: 3⭐ (278584 rating)

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  • Lowest Rate: 2⭐

  • Sumary:

  • Matching Result: The NYS Canal System links the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie via the Niagara River, allowing boaters to travel from the Atlantic …

  • Intro: Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor :: The Canal System Today Nearly 200 years old and still going strong.New York’s canal system has been in continuous operation since 1825, longer than any other constructed transportation system on the North American continent. Over the years, it has been enlarged three times to…
  • Source: https://eriecanalway.org/learn/history-culture/canal-today

Traveling on the Erie Canal – Michiganology

Traveling on the Erie Canal - Michiganology

  • Author: michiganology.org

  • Rating: 3⭐ (278584 rating)

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  • Sumary: In the 1830s, people coming to Michigan traveled along dirt roads that followed the routes of Indian trails. These roads were full of holes and often muddy. After traveling on one of these early roads, one person wrote that…

  • Matching Result: Erie Canal packet boats traveled two miles per hour and cost passengers between two to four cents per mile. When packet boats reached Buffalo, New York, …

  • Intro: Traveling on the Erie Canal – Michiganology In the 1830s, people coming to Michigan traveled along dirt roads that followed the routes of Indian trails. These roads were full of holes and often muddy. After traveling on one of these early roads, one person wrote that she had just been…
  • Source: https://michiganology.org/stories/traveling-on-the-erie-canal/

OHIO AND ERIE CANAL | Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

OHIO AND ERIE CANAL | Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

  • Author: case.edu

  • Rating: 3⭐ (278584 rating)

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  • Sumary: The OHIO AND ERIE CANAL, connecting Lake Erie at Cleveland with the Ohio River at Portsmouth, was constructed by the State of Ohio between 1825-32 to …

  • Matching Result: Large-capacity freight boats were towed by mules in tandem and passenger packets, designed for faster travel, were towed by horses at a speed of 4 mph or less.

  • Intro: OHIO AND ERIE CANAL | Encyclopedia of Cleveland History | Case Western Reserve University The OHIO AND ERIE CANAL, connecting Lake Erie at Cleveland with the Ohio River at Portsmouth, was constructed by the State of Ohio between 1825-32 to provide cheap transportation and to promote the state’s economic development….
  • Source: https://case.edu/ech/articles/o/ohio-and-erie-canal

Cruising the Erie Canal – PassageMaker

Cruising the Erie Canal - PassageMaker

  • Author: passagemaker.com

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  • Sumary: An overview of a Great Loop gem, the Erie Canal, with watercolor art from Jean MacKay.

  • Matching Result: Fifteen lift bridges carry traffic over the Erie Canal in western New York. When a boat approaches, the operator stops traffic on the roadway …

  • Intro: Cruising the Erie CanalHead up New York’s mighty Hudson, turn to port just north of Troy, and prepare to enjoy one of the nation’s most historic waterways: the legendary Erie Canal. Cruising here offers a variety of scenery and experiences—you can navigate through towering locks, cruise from village to village,…
  • Source: https://www.passagemaker.com/destinations/cruising-the-erie-canal

1830s The Erie Canal at Work – Consider the Source New York

1830s The Erie Canal at Work - Consider the Source New York

  • Author: considerthesourceny.org

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  • Matching Result: Canal boats were pulled by horses or mules and traveled at about four miles per hour. The boats floated in the water in the canal and the horses and mules …

  • Intro: 1830s The Erie Canal at Work :: Consider The Source Online Ten years after the Erie Canal opened in 1825, many of the towns and villages that had celebrated the opening of the Canal had grown into busy communities and cities. The Canal helped move goods and people through New…
  • Source: https://considerthesourceny.org/using-primary-sources/erie-canal-time-machine/1830s-erie-canal-work

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Frequently Asked Questions About how did boats travel through the erie canal

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic how did boats travel through the erie canal, then this section may help you solve it.

What kinds of vehicles were typically used on the Erie Canal?

The Erie Canal system was renamed the New York State Barge Canal in 1918. In its early stages, barges were towed upstream by horses trotting along the towpath, as depicted in the painting above. Barges going downstream used the current and a rudder for steerage. Later, diesel engine propelled barges were used.

How much time did it take to cross the Erie Canal?

Before the construction of the Erie Canal, it took a wagon between 15 and 45 days to travel from Albany to Buffalo, and a ton of cargo cost about $25. After the canal was built, the trip took around 9 days, and a ton of cargo cost $.

How was the Erie Canal to navigate?

The Erie Canal packet boats traveled two miles per hour and charged passengers between two and four cents per mile. The straw-padded bunks were frequently dirty and smelled bad. Each cabin’s door and windows were closed to keep out mosquitoes, which made the cabin very hot.

How much time did it take to transport goods through the Erie Canal?

Before the canal was built, it took between 9 and 13 days and cost.25 per 100 pounds to ship goods from Binghamton to Albany by wagon. A canal boat made the trip in less than four days and cost.25 per 100 pounds. Tolls more than covered the cost of construction.

The Erie Canal is still in use by ships.

Today, pleasure boats, kayaks and canoes, and commercial vessels share the waterway, which has been expanded three times over the years to accommodate larger boats and more traffic.

Why is no longer used the Erie Canal?

The St. Lawrence Seaway, a new waterway along the U.S.-Canadian border, allowed large ships to enter the Great Lakes directly from the Atlantic Ocean, avoiding the Erie Canal, and its commercial and shipping traffic abruptly decreased after its completion in 1959.

Why did the Erie Canal fail?

The sections of the original route still in use were significantly widened, mostly west of Syracuse, with bridges rebuilt and locks replaced. More than half of the original Erie Canal was destroyed or abandoned during construction of the New York State Barge Canal in the early 20th century.

The Erie Canal is still navigable, right?

Weather permitting, the NYS Canal System is open from the middle of May to the middle of October. As you cruise the picturesque and historic waterway, you’ll see beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife, and distinctive communities with amenities and interesting places to visit.

Is the Erie Canal swimmable?

Hunting on, at or near canal locks or any other canal structure is prohibited, as is swimming, diving, or fishing in the lock chambers, from the lock walls, or from any other canal structure.

Why do so many boats in Lake Erie sank?

Storms and waves, as well as collisions and fires, were other frequent causes of foundering in Lake Erie, according to Magee, co-founder of a Cleveland-based group of underwater explorers (CLUE) that searches for Lake Erie shipwrecks.

Why is swimming in Lake Erie not advised?

Any current moving at more than 2 mph is deemed hazardous, and dangerous currents in Lake Erie can exceed 5 mph, which is faster than an Olympic swimmer can swim. Currents can also pull swimmers away from the shore.

What was discovered at Lake Erie’s bottom?

The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo announced the discovery on Thursday. The wooden steam barge Margaret Olwill sank in 50 feet of water during a nor’easter in 1899, killing eight people including the captain, his wife, and their 9-year-old son.

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