By Jianqi Zhou
Eric Canal, as the longest artificial waterway of North America, not only highlighted the sophisticated work of engineering in the 19th century but also provided a firm and solid cornerstone for many along with towns and cities, including Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and of course New York City. 363-mile-long canal with a rise of 565 feet in elevation from west to east, the engineers and laborers spared no effort to overcome hill from another hill, traversed through the forest from another forest to create this “Eighth World of the World”. The birth of this amazing marvel showed Americans’ excellent character of vision, determination, ingenuity, and hard work. Finally, they connected Lake Eric with the Atlantic Ocean with this “Clinton’s Ditch” in 1825. More importantly, they opened a new era for the Northern U.S.
In the 19th century, railroads, trucks, such modern transportation technologies haven’t come out yet. Land transportation mainly relied on the stagecoach. If you wanted a bit of Buffalo Chicken Wing while you were in New York City, you may need to wait for two weeks with the stagecoach, and only receive a box of stinky “organic fertilizer”. Of course, it is just a little irony. The boss of the Anchor Bar where the first original Buffalo chicken wing was from hasn’t even been born yet. Additionally, during the early construction, the project was suspended serval times due to financial deficiency. No one knew how much money on earth such an immense project was needed to accomplish. Even President Thomas Jefferson called it “little short of madness”. However, the New York Governor, DeWitt Clinton, resolutely supported the project and won $ 7 million from the legislature for it. Yet you can see how difficult and urgent the trading and exchange between western and eastern NY was at that time. After the perfect completion of the Erie Canal, the flourishing development of New York City and the along cities proved how great and farsighted Clinton’s decision was. I believe that Governor Clinton didn’t even imagine how large economic and social impact this engineering marvel bring to the United State.
This waterway not only accelerated the communication between western and eastern NY but also pushed the development of western New York. As the construction of the canal kept extending toward western New York, more and more project workers decided to settle along the canal so that they could share some time with their families while working. Based on the historical record of New York state, “At one time, more than 50,000 people depended on the Erie Canal for their livelihood.” Thus, Erie Canal poured hundreds of settlers to western New York every day on that occasion, which may include our great grandparents or your great grand uncles.
Today, we should feel so proud and lucky that we were born in such a technology-advanced age. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our ancestors, so that we can have the chance to enjoy and tour the wonderful Erie Canal carelessly.
Wanting to have a glance at the beauty of the Erie Canal, the marvel that was created by our ancestors’ hands? Plan your trip with: https://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/business-type/erie-canal/ ! Also, our office, the Discover716, is located right next to the wonderful Erie Canal. (277 Sweeney Street, North Tonawanda, NY 14120) Come and chill!