Education

Erie Canal 1825


Directions
The Erie Canal was opened to boat traffic in 1825. It created a shorter and safer waterway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. After looking at the documents and answering questions, students will be able to explain why and how New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.
Task Description
Write a well-organized essay using the documents, the answers to the questions in Part A, and your own knowledge of the subject. The building of the Erie Canal was a major accomplishment for New York State. Explain how and why New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.
Glossary
ball- A formal gathering with dancing (a party)

bateau- French word for boat

broadside- poster

canal- a man-made waterway

cannonade- a chain of cannon shot

engraving- a print made from a block of wood ormetal that has been carved or etched historical document- recorded information from the past

illuminate- to brighten with light
Part A: Instructions
Examine the following documents and answer each of the questions that follow them.
Part B: Essay
Write a well-organized essay using the documents, the answers to the questions in Part A, and your own knowledge of the subject.

The building of the Erie Canal was a major accomplishment for New York State. Explain how and why New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.

In your essay, remember to:

  • Tell how New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.

  • Tell why New Yorkers were celebrating the opening of the Erie Canal.

  • Include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

  • Use information from the documents.

  • Include details, examples, or reasons when developing your ideas.


Document 1
[click to enlarge]
New York State Barge Canal, New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_Dn_Bc12
Document Description
This is a map of the Erie Canal in 1922. The map shows the original Erie Canal and the 1918 Barge Canal expansion. If you look carefully, you can see that the Barge Canal expansion did not always follow the path of the earlier Canal. The expansion needed to be much wider and deeper than the original Canal to accommodate larger ships and heavier traffic.
Questions
  1. What does this map show?
  2. According to the map, the Erie Canal connected Lake ____ in the west (on the left) to the ____ River in the east (on the right).
  3. According to the map, what are the names of the communities at each end of the canal?
Document 2
[click to enlarge]
Engraving of Boats on the Mohawk River , New York State Library, NYSL_mohawk_river_boats
Document Description
This is an engraving of a bateau (boat) and a Durham boat (with sails) navigating the Mohawk River. It shows the Durham boat being forced upstream through one of the dams created by the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company in the late 1780s to raise the water level across the river's many rifts and shoals.
Questions
  1. Examine the picture and identify two sources of power used to move the boats up the river.
  2. How many people are working with or riding in each boat?

    1. The bateau in the bottom of the picture has _____ people.

    2. The Durham boat on the top of the picture has _____ people


Document 3
[click to enlarge]
Erie Canal Celebration Broadside , New York State Library, NYSL_erie_canal_celebration_broadside
Document Description
This broadside (poster) tells the citizens of Geneva, New York about plans for celebrating the opening of the Erie Canal. Towns all along the length of the new Canal designed special festivities to mark the occasion. The second document is an illlustration from the broadside of a canal boat used for traveling and transporting goods on the Erie Canal.
Transcription
Grand Celebration!

At a Meeting of the Committee of Arrangements appointed by the citizens of Geneva to make suitable arrangements for the celebration of the COMPLETION of the ERIE CANAL, and the Meetings of the Waters of the Great Western Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, on WEDNESDAY the 26th instant, it was

Resolved, That. for the purpose of demonstrating the joy which the citizens of Geneva, in common with the citizens of the State, feel at the completion of the Erie Canal, it be recommended to them to partake of a Public DINNER, at the Franklin House, on Wednesday the 26th inst. At 4 o'clock p.m.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the Citizens of Geneva to ILLUMINATE their houses on the evening of the 26th instant.

Resolved, That a Public BALL be also recommended on the evening of the day on which the first Boat departing from Buffalo, on the Erie Canal, shall arrive at New York, at such place as the Managers shall designate; and that Nicholas Ayrault Andrew P. Tillman, Wm. V. I. Mercer, L. B. Minzer, William W. Watson, John Smith, Jun. Hiram Walbridge, James Bogert, Charles A Williamson, Andrew Burns, David S. Hall, George Stafford, Godfrey J. Grosvenor, and John T. Wolson, be Managers of said Ball.

A NATIONAL SALUTE will be fired by a detachment from Capt. Lum's Artillery Company, at twelve o'clock at noon: the bells will ring during the firing of the Salute.

The Illumination to commence at the ringing of the bells, about half past 6 o'clock in the evening.

Those citizens who wish to partake of the Dinner, are requested to leave their names at the Bookstore of J. Bogert, at the Reading Rooms, or at the Franklin House, by 10 o'clock to-morrow morning.

Our Fellow-Citizens of the country generally, are invited to unite in the Celebration at this place.

EL NATHAN NOBLE, ANDREW P. TILLMAN,

CHARLES BUTLER, JOHN SMITH Jun.

WILLIAM W. WATSON, CASTLE SOUTHERLAND,

HIRAM WALBRIDGE, CHARLES LUM.

DAVID S. HALL,

Committee of Arrangements.

Geneva, Tuesday morning, October 25, 1825
Questions
  1. Identify one source of power used to move this canal boat.
  2. How many people are working with and riding in this boat?
  3. Compare Document 2 and Document 3. Give two reasons why the boat in Document 3 might be easier to travel in than the boats in Document 2.
  4. What are the citizens of Geneva celebrating?
  5. List three ways in which the citizens of Geneva will celebrate:

    1. With a Public ______.

    2. _________ their houses.

    3. By holding a Public ____.


  6. According to the document above:

    1. What city did the first boat leave from?

    2. What did this boat travel on?

    3. What city did the boat arrive in?


Document 4
[click to enlarge]
Plate to Commemorate the Erie Canal Celebration , Other, CSNYS_commemorative_plate
Document Description
This plate was made to commemorate the 1825 opening of the Erie Canal. The picture on the plate shows canal boats waiting to enter the Erie Canal lock at Albany.

The original Canal was 363 miles long and had eighty-three locks (locks raised and lowered boats). The Erie Canal cost $7,143,000, but it soon paid for itself with the tolls collected from boats traveling the canal.
Questions
  1. Describe the picture that is printed on this plate.
  2. Why was this picture printed on plates?
Document 5
[click to enlarge]
Wallpaper of Erie Canal , New York State Museum, NYSM_erie_canal_wallpaper
Document Description
This is a picture of the Erie Canal aqueduct at Rochester, New York. In Rochester, the Erie Canal had to cross the Genesee River. The Canal went east and west across New York State, although the Genesee River runs south to north, so an aqueduct was built to carry the Canal across the river.

The aqueduct made it possible for the canal water to be separate from the river water. The Canal, with its water and boats, traveled above the river in the aqueduct. This picture of the Rochester aqueduct is printed on wallpaper, an indication that people wanted a souvenir (a reminder) of the Canal's accomplishments in their homes.
Questions
  1. Describe the picture on this piece of wallpaper.
  2. Why was this picture printed on the wallpaper?
Part B: Essay
Write a well-organized essay using the documents, the answers to the questions in Part A, and your own knowledge of the subject.

The building of the Erie Canal was a major accomplishment for New York State. Explain how and why New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.

In your essay, remember to:

  • Tell how New Yorkers celebrated the opening of the Erie Canal.

  • Tell why New Yorkers were celebrating the opening of the Erie Canal.

  • Include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

  • Use information from the documents.

  • Include details, examples, or reasons when developing your ideas.