425-mile Erie Canal took only 2 years to build, it was dug mostly by oxen and
Irish diggers paid $10 a month, and apparently encouraged on by barrels of whisky
strategically placed along the route...
The canal ran from Buffalo, east of Lake Erie, to Albany, on the upper Hudson,
passing through the gap in the mountains in the Mohawk Valley region. It had 83
canal locks to accommodate the 500-foot rise in elevation.
was opened on this day by Governor Clinton (of New York) in Buffalo and news of
the canal's opening was transmitted to New York via the method of canon fire:
canons were positioned within hearing distance of each other along the canal,
one firing as soon as they heard the other one firing.
took 81 minutes for news of the canal's opening to reach New York, the fastest
method of communication known at the time.