Captain's Blog

Erie Canal

Nostalgia – Siskiwit 8-10-92. Locked thru lock 7 on the Erie Canal and Jerry who was shooting TV weather spot for WTEN, Albany.  Jerry asked if he could shoot us coming out of Lock 7. We affirmed.   Rachel and I tied up at lock 6 (Half Moon) for an interview.

Construction of the Erie Canal began in 1817, the laborers were paid $8 a month and worked 14 hour days. It opened in 1825 and reduced the travel time from New York to Buffalo from six weeks to 10 days and cut the cost of 1 ton of freight from $100 to $5. By 1900 the US had 4,000 miles of canals. It was enlarged and deepened between 1903-1918. President Teddy Roosevelt wanted to expand it to take ocean going traffic and everyone called it a “boondoggle.” When we learned this, all we could think about for must of the 186 miles from Oswego to the Troy Locks imagine if America had committed to that level of infrastructure back then, there would have been no need for the St. Lawrence Seaway. What a difference that would have been to upstate New York today.