Warning: mysqli_query(): (HY000/1021): Disk full (/tmp/#sql_cbdc5_4.MAI); waiting for someone to free some space... (errno: 28 "No space left on device") in /home/deriecanal/public_html/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1942

Warning: mysqli_query(): (HY000/1021): Disk full (/tmp/#sql_cbdc5_4.MAI); waiting for someone to free some space... (errno: 28 "No space left on device") in /home/deriecanal/public_html/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1942
History – Discover the Erie Canal

Warning: mysqli_query(): (HY000/1021): Disk full (/tmp/#sql_cbdc5_4.MAI); waiting for someone to free some space... (errno: 28 "No space left on device") in /home/deriecanal/public_html/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1942

Champlain Canal Centennial Roundtables

Four roundtables celebrating the Champlain Canal Centennial have been scheduled for May. Each will feature a presentation, an informational sharing session, networking opportunities and a discussion period.

The roundtables are designed to bring together museum professionals, historical societies, archivists, local historians and community members to foster collaboration and to create unique thematic experiences for visitors

May 4th. 2018 from noon to 3pm. at the Waterford Harbor Visitor Center located at 1 Tugboat Alley, Brad Utter will present Community Building: The Growth of Canal Communities. Brad Utter is Senior Historian / Curator for Science and Technological History at the New York State Museum. His research focuses on the New York State Canal System and its impact on the community. He was curator for the exhibit marking the 200th. anniversary of the canal, Enterprising Waters New York’s Erie Canal

May 8th, 2018 from noon to 3pm, at the Silos, Maple Street, Hudson Falls, Jeanne Williams and Kim Harvish will present Immigration, Industrialization, and Innovation. Jeanne Williams is Executive Director of the Feeder Canal Alliance and Kim Harvish is educator at the Chapman Historical Museum. Williams focuses on the past, present, and future of the Feeder Canal that was once the economic engine of the area. Harvish uses the resources of the Chapman Historical Museum to integrate local history into programs that incorporate visual literacy components and primary documents

May 17th. 2018 from noon to 3pm. at the Schuyler Room of the Saratoga Town Hall 12 Spring Street Schuylerville. Craig Williams will present Building the Champlain Barge Canal: Treasurers in the NYS Archives. Craig Williams is a retired senior historian at the New York State Museum and a trustee of the Canal Society of New York State. He has spent over 50 years researching and documenting New York’s canal heritage. Using the unique resources of the New York State Archives along with oral histories. Williams will present stories about the engineering achievements and the people involved in the construction of the Champlain Canal.

May 19th. 2018 from 1pm. to 4pm. at the Crandall Public Library, 251 Glen St. Glens Falls. Erica Wolfe Burke will present Researching the People of the Feeder Canal. Erica Wolfe Burke is an archivist and special collections librarian at the Folklife Center at the Crandall Public Library. She assists families and genealogists researching upstate New York ancestry and has offered a series of family history workshops. Her presentation will culminate in a community archiving event with the Folklife Center as the repository for the images shared.

Preregistration is required for all events. $15 includes material and lunch. “Researching the People of the Feeder Canal” is free and does not include lunch.

Preregister by emailing mgibbs@lakestolocks.org. For questions call (518) 597-9660

Barge Canal Centennial Celebrations Planned For Rochester

We currently travel on the third generation of the Erie Canal, commonly referred to as the “Barge Canal” 2018 celebrates the centennial of the opening of this version of the Canal system. The fact that we travel today on infrastructure designed and built 100 years ago is a great testament to the engineers and builders of the Barge Canal and the foresight of NYS to embark of its construction

The Canal Society of New York State in conjunction with the New York State Canal Corp and in partnership with the Centennial Celebration Committee are hosting two events to mark the centennial opening of the Erie Barge Canal in 2018.

When: Saturday May 5th. Canal Conversation & Symposium

Theatre at Stong Museum of Play Rochester

Join the conversation at this daylong public forum in which presenters discuss canal history and its continued value today and for the future. Registration $40, includes breakfast, coffee breaks and lunch.

Saturday May 10th. Centennial Celebration: Watering of the Erie Barge Canal

East Guard Lock just west of Kendrick Rd.

Witness the re-creation of the first inflow of water into the 20th century Erie Canal as “Teddy Roosevelt” sponsors, and other dignitaries greet the public and ceremoniously commemorate the event using the authentic shovel used 100 years ago on May 10th. 1918. Dignitaries will also unveil a bronze plaque to celebrate the designation of the NYS Canal System as a National Historic Landmark. FREE

Canal by Coach Tour: Following the festivities join Canal Society of New York State President Emeritus Tom Grasso and other experts for a guided tour by motor coach of the remarkable canal sites in eastern Monroe County Registration: $60. Includes lunch, bus, printed guide and more.

History:

On the morning of May 10th. 1918 a group of engineers, contractors, workers and a few prominent citizens gathered on the east side of the Genesee River in Genesee Valley Park to inaugurate a monumental, audacious and revolutionary accomplishment in New York State’s long and storied canal history. Water for the first time was let into the newly completed expansion of the Erie Canal or “Teddy Roosevelts Ditch”. Five days later the new Erie-Barge Canal was opened for through traffic from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River. A new era had begun.

Sponsors: New York State Canal Corporation, Canal Society of New York State, Create a Brand, City of Rochester, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, Bergman Associates, and John & Eve Graham.

To register for either of the events, click here

http://www.newyorkcanals.org             http://www.bargecanal100.com

Middleport Preserving Co.

A large four story building that stood on the northwest side of the canal had a rich history and several different names.  It started as a flour mill which was destroyed in 1859 and came back to life in 1883 as the Ontario Preserving Company.

The property was leased to the company by Buel P. Barnes who stipulated that it could only be used as a canning factory.  Mr. Barnes at that time owned the flour mill on the corner of North Hartland and Sherman Road and wanted to make sure he had no new competition. Managed by Mr. Charles Francis with Mr. Jay S. Vary as superintendent, processor and chemist, the plant was known for packing peas which were shelled every morning by local housewives and picked up by horse and wagon before noon so they could be processed by evening.

As the cost of peas made the product no longer profitable for the plant, it switched to pineapples, naval oranges, strawberries, cherries as well as a large variety of other fruits and vegetables.  The plant had the first acetylene gas units to replace the old kerosene lamps as well as a steam engine to provide additional power and  Middleport’s first sprinkler system for fire protection.

The plant was an active employer of around 500 local residents and several additions had to be made to the building to house the new equipment.  In 1891, the Sprague-Warner Company of Chicago,Illinois purchased the plant and the name was changed to the Batavia Preserving Company.  The Middleport plant continued to preserve fruits while another plant in Batavia handled most of the vegetables.  The plant was again sold in 1913 when the Batavia Preserving Company decided to leave Western New York.

After several more owners who ran it as a canning company, the last name on the building was Longview Farms Inc. which was run by Louis Catalano and R.C Walthew.  After a destructive fire in the 1960’s, the building became a safety hazard and was demolished in 1967.

Information for this article came from a 1966 essay written by Elmer Vary, longtime resident of Middleport

Schenectady County Erie Canal History Events Set

New York State is celebrating the bicentennial of the Erie Canal’s creation this year with a campaign to “Reimagine the Canal.”

A series of conversations focused on economic and environmental sustainability of the historical Mohawk river towns will be held in Schenectady County beginning March 8th.

These events will kick-off with a presentation by some of the region’s leading experts on the Erie Canal, followed by dialogue on how re-imagining the canal and river can help community revitalization and sustainability in the region.

Thurs., March 8, 7 pm, The first speaker will be David Brooks, education director at the Schoharie Crossing Visitors Center. Brooks’s talk “Through the Mire” looks at the environmental factors and impact of constructing the canal. Location: ECOS Headquarters, Niskayuna Community Center, 2682 Aqueduct Rd. The ECOS annual all-member meeting will be held at 5:30 pm to discuss 2018-19 priorities and elect new board members (membership required to vote, but all are welcome).

Wed., March 21, 6 pm, there will be a presentation by Brad Utter, the senior historian and curator for science and technology at the New York State Museum in Albany who curated the museum’s current exhibit, “Enterprising Waters:New York’s Erie Canal.” He will talk about the exhibit and how he put it together, as well as his favorite stories about the canal and those who conceived and built it. Location: McChesney Room, Schenectady County Public Library, 99 Clinton St., Schenectady.

Tues., April 24, 7 pm, Jack Kelly of Ulster County, author of the book Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold and Murder on the Erie Canal (St. Martin’s Press) will speak. Kelly is a journalist, novelist and historian whose book, according to a New York Times review, “engagingly juxtaposes the challenges confronting the dreamers who envisioned a link between the Atlantic, the Great Lakes and the apocalyptic cauldron brewing upstate…. [as] Mormons and Freemasons, joined with Welsh and Irish laborers recruited from Manhattan’s Five Points, carved the canal from rock and mud, thrusting them into a volatile existence.” Location: Schenectady Community College, 78 Washington Ave, Schenectady.

RSVP is encouraged, but not required for the March events. Tickets for the April 24 event will be available for sale on ECOS’ website in April.

These events are part of the Discover the Mohawk initiative sponsored by the City of Schenectady, Schenectady County Metroplex Authority, and LandArt Studio, the Environmental Clearinghouse.

This post originated from the NY History Blog

 

 

 

New York State Canal Conference / Save The Date

Art Contest at Schoharie Crossing!

The Friends of Schoharie Crossing are inviting painters residing in New York State to showcase their work in a competitive, juried exhibition. The theme of the exhibition is Lock in the Fun: Recreation at Schoharie Crossing.

To recognize the centennial of the NYS Barge Canal, Schoharie Crossing will be hosting this second annual exhibition of talented artists in the newly renovated Visitor Center. This year the focus will be on paintings only. Jurors have accepted the task of reviewing the artwork and prizes will be awarded to those honored by the jurors. 

The Erie Canal historic site and NYS Park is a great place for recreation such as walking, cycling, kayaking, fishing, birdwatching, picnics, and more. The site supplies views of nature as well and the historic canal structures are juxtaposed among the natural world of plants and animals along the Schoharie Creek and Mohawk River. The trails along old towpaths of the canal allow for a journey back in time. Flora and fauna thrive within the waterways, wetlands and open spaces of Schoharie Crossing, lending great inspiration for any artist.

Schoharie Crossing encompasses over two hundred acres and spans over three miles in length. From the western end of the site at the Aqueduct boat launch, across the Schoharie Creek and east to Yankee Hill Lock and the Putman Canal Store. The site contains portions of the original 1820’s Erie Canal as well as features two sets of double locks from the Enlarged Era Canal and is adjacent to the Erie Canal of today; the Mohawk River. Lock E12 at Tribes Hill on the river is situated close to the site and provides access to witnessing the newest century old canal of today.

The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2018 and submissions can be made online. The exhibit’s opening celebration will take place during the Schoharie Crossing Canal Days festivities, July 14th and 15th, 2018, and artwork will be displayed through August. For more information on how to enter, visit the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site page of the New York State Parks website, call Schoharie Crossing at (518) 829-7518, or email SchoharieCrossing@parks.ny.gov

 

History in your Backyard Series: A behind the scenes look at the Revolutionary War

History in Your Backyard Series: A behind the scenes look at the Revolutionary War

 

We make history fun and exciting!

Have you ever wanted to get an insider’s look into history?  Would you like to see recently uncovered artifacts that provide insight into the region’s long history, explore a historic home that served as a Revolutionary War field hospital, or interact with a “real” soldiers at a military encampment?  You can do all of this plus enjoy wine tasting, take a boat ride, and enjoy an incredible local farm to table lunch just by signing up at www.akibatravel.com. This inaugural guided tour will take you to of some of the region’s hidden gems for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Mohawk Maiden Cruises

Learn archaeologist’s techniques and view recently discovered artifacts from the Revolutionary War era; experience harsh camp life of Revolutionary War soldiers at Saratoga Battlefield’s Annual Encampment; take a boat cruise on the historic Champlain Canal; and, discover the unmarked destinations and under-told stories that provide a new look into our region’s past. We will even visit a historic home that was once a Revolutionary War field hospital and view remnants of blood stained floors, a 1777 cannon ball lodged in a beam, and the basement where the Baroness Riedesel, wife of the General Riedesel hid with her three children during the siege.

This day-long trip will begin at 8:30AM at 12 Spring St. Schuylerville, NY, and return by 5:00PM.  Farm-to-table lunch is included in the price with an add-on option for a dinner reception after the tour. Cost is $75 per person. Price includes: transportation, boat ride, guides, lunch, access to all attractions and more.

Call: 518-322-2067 or visit www.akibatravel.com for more information.

This program is presented by Akiba Travel LLC.

The Bicentennial Canal Theatre Project

The Bicentennial Canal Theatre Project is proud to present on August 18th, at 8pm an outdoor theatre production on the historic Derrick Boat 8 located at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum

The Oswego Canal Play, a one act play written by Oswego native Rick Sivers is based on historical characters that lived in Oswego in the 1830’s, a time when the Erie and Oswego Canals played an important role in the development of American as people migrated west.

One night only, admission is FREE to the public. Bring your own seating, alternative rain-date will be Saturday the 19th.  

The event is supported in part by the City of Oswego, The H. Lee White Maritime Museum and Pathfinder Bank. This event is appropriate for the entire family

 

 

Spencerport Heritage Days

Spencerport Heritage Day August 19th – 10am-3pm

Take a step back in time! Spencerport Heritage Day is in its third year.  This event is the official August event on the Ogden Bicentennial/Spencerport Sesquicentennial celebrations calendar.   It is a day of celebrating history and looking back at how we used to live and what items looked like in the past.   We have spinning and yarning demonstrations, a variety of displays, historic games and activities to suit people young and old. We will have bands playing all day.  The Golden Eagles String Band will be entertaining us with their Folk songs and Erie Canal songs from 10am-12pm.  From 1pm-3pm, The Crawdiddies, an Americana Band will be performing for us.

All Day Events include:

Displays and Demos

Before and After Photos Spinning and Weaving

Old Tools Ogden Historical Display

Spencerport Fire Pumper

Entertainment 10am-12pm Golden Eagles String Band 1pm-3pm The Crawdiddies

Activities

Historic Games Yarn Doll Making

Toy and Musical Instrument Making

Writing with a Quill Pen

Historic Spencerport Village Walks

Fishing on the Canal FREE ENTRY Snacks and Refreshments on Sale For more info, please call Simon on (585) 352-0942

Vertical Divider

 

“This project is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts at the Livingston Arts Center, a member supported organization.”

O’GHOSTS! COME BACK AGAIN!

 

O’GHOSTS! COME BACK AGAIN!

An American Labor Story on the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of the Erie Canal.

By

Hugh Pratt

       One day, walking on the historic site of the opening of the Erie Canal in Buffalo, New York, I imagined I heard the voices of the 9000 ditch diggers who began excavating the Erie Canal two hundred years ago on July 4th, 1817. Some nights, if only in my dreams, I woke up to their plea to lend my ears to the nightmare thousands of young immigrants lived together as they authored with shovels, hands, and muscle, the world-famous Erie Canal. Now, after two centuries, they were asking if anyone would listen to their story? No one cared to listen two hundred years ago. Will the passing of time make any difference?

Anniversaries let us think of the dead. How often we think of our deceased mothers and fathers. For a moment, they are alive again. Oh, how much we wish we could freeze that moment in history. Thomas Wolfe in Look Homeward Angel cried out at the end of his novel saying, “O Ghosts, Come back again.” How much he wanted to return to his own past. Wherever our ghosts reside, that is a sacred part of us. Ghosts are eternal. And on this day, July 4, 2017, the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Erie Canal, we may be able to realize how much we care about those ghosts of the Erie Canal and those who made it happen two centuries ago.

The original Erie Canal was completed in 1825. There are only a few pieces of this canal left, but its spirit lives on in its modern version. And this life force is still flowing through some forty or fifty little port towns, large cities along the canal, as well as though mountains, rivers, and the countryside of Up State New York. Today, the Erie Canal is not just one Erie Canal. It is made up of many Erie Canals. Each little canal port has its own Erie Canal, its own history, Its own founders, and indeed, its own ghosts. And there is a prevailing spirit that runs through it all.; a conflicted force of inhumanity against humanity.

Perhaps this 4th of July will awaken the story of the thousands of workingmen who jabbed, jogged, nudged, scoped, shoveled, grubbed, and poked though swamps, mountains, escarpments, dark and terrifying forests to build this river of hope. Since there were no unions working conditions were horrific.   Awakened at three A.M. the diggers, working with only their bare hands and a few shovels, worked fourteen to sixteen hours a day. Many fainted from exhaustion as they shoveled through dismal swamps full of poisonous snakes and leeches which crawled up their legs. The contractors fed them whiskey hourly to keep them working and in the hot sun they became seriously ill.

The building of the Erie Canal was a million steps of inhumanity for most of those who did the heavy lifting. These men lived along the canal in small shanties, in some cases no larger than dog kennels and some lived like cattle in a barn.

Peter Way in Common Labor described them “as a dying mass that seemed to well up from the muck in which they worked, scorched by the sun, choked by the rain, and bitten by chill frost. Their days were measured out by the dull thud of shovel in dirt, by the chink of mallet on rock, by the muffled explosions of powder blast; their nights were marked by a pool of light spilling from shanty windows, by fumes of bubbling stew and acid rotgut hanging in the air. They were unequally unmatched in this world, a condition that left them with little influence during history, though they were the stuff of its making.”

In two hundred years no dirt grubber’s face has come down through the centuries to remind us of the laborers who helped build this historical monument we now call the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. For years their names have been locked away in New York State Historical Archives. Nowhere along the canal is there a plaque, or marker, or wall with the names of those who excavated the canal.

There are no statues, no portraits, no images of them anywhere. There are no places along the interstate 90, from Buffalo to Albany, where we can stop to have a cup of coffee and read about the ghosts of those who gave so much of their lives for this state and the nation.

   When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825 there were big celebrations in Buffalo and New York City. Many speeches were given praising the contractors, the engineers, and others who were also the creators of the Erie Canal. No public words recognized the ditch diggers that day. Or, any day.

On this 200th anniversary of the birth of the Erie Canal they will also be little said of those who dug the Erie Canal. But there are labor unions, activists, labor organization, colleges, and educational organizations all over the country that are fighting their hearts out to develop a moral social vision for labor which can bring a bright light into the story of labor in America.

So, on this coming July 4, 2017, the anniversary of the Erie Canal, many of us will walk along those historical waterfronts of our own Erie Canal and think about the ghosts of our own Ole Erie. Perhaps we may hear their voices, if only in our dreams. Then maybe, just maybe, our ghost will give us a message. And maybe, just maybe, some important people will hear this message, and just maybe, a new age for American labor will begin. O Ghosts. Come back again.

                                                                                             The End

Caption for the photo provided by Joni Lincoln, Director: Bart Wasilenko as Thomas Eddy, left and Bill Daughtery as DeWitt Clinton

   On June 26 and 27th, Clinton’s Ditch play will be performed at Divaney’s in Weedsport and on June 29 and 30, at Giardina Park in Montezuma. Show time is 7:30 P.M. at both places.