Originally built beginning in 1817 and opened in 1825, the significance of the Erie Canal to the history of Western New York cannot be understated. Running for 363 miles, this engineering marvel connects the Great Lakes, the Hudson River, Lake Champlain and the Finger Lakes. Its construction created a waterway between the Midwest and New York, changing the flow of goods and agricultural commerce in America. More than 9,000 laborers worked over seven years to complete the project, inventing their own equipment and methods for drilling, breaking up stone, uprooting trees and even creating hydraulic cement, which could harden underwater.
Today, the Erie Canal is primarily used for recreational watercraft, making it an ideal spot to kayak, learn about history and explore the still ingenious locks system, which can be experienced in the city of Lockport, just 30 minutes from Niagara Falls.