I’m a history buff, totally in love with the Erie Canal. We spent part of our vacation visiting excavated sites and/or checking out the waterways that are still in use.
I thought the Canal was a bust after it was first built between 1817 and 1825. I was given to understand that trains did it in. Guess I was wrong. The Erie Canal opened the American west and created boom towns along its path: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, etc. It made New York City what it is today (for good or bad!).
The canal was re-dug three times. After the initial dig, it was expanded in the 1850s or 1860s (I don’t remember which). We saw excavations of that, too. The final expansion/re-digging came in the early 20th century, I think in 1911.
The canal was finally superseded by the St. Lawrence Seaway in the late 1950s. Today the 20th century version of the Erie Canal is used for educational and recreational purposes.
The hubby and I visited excavations in Newark, New York and in Buffalo. In fact – and here I go about Buffalo again – there’s a push on to completely renovate the original canal harbor. There are extensive remains of buildings and the tow path there, all extremely well preserved and accessible to the public. Check out some photos of the site, which opened in 2008: