New York State Erie Canal Museum At Locks 34 & 35 (FREE)

Erie Canal Lock 34-35

Nostalgic black and white photos of the early days are housed in this former Barge Canal powerhouse. Seen on the left, Locks 34 and 35 are “siamese twins”, where the upper door of Lock 34 is also the lower door of Lock 35. On the right is a set of 5 old locks from the previous canal, which are now used only as the spillway. For the braver boaters, there’s a nice dock to overnight at, at the top of the spillway, a few feet from the edge. The white building in the middle is a small canal museum.

About Erie Canal

The Erie Canal is a canal in New York that runs about 363 miles (584 km) from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York, at Lake Erie, completing a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The canal contains 36 locks and encompasses a total elevation differential of approximately 565 ft. (169 m). First proposed in 1807, it was under construction from 1817 to 1825 when it officially opened on October 26, 1825. In a time when bulk goods were limited to pack animals (an eighth-ton [250-pound] maximum), and there were no steamships or railways, water was the most cost effective way to ship bulk goods or significant tonnages of any kind.

The canal was the first transportation system between the eastern seaboard (New York City) and the western interior (Great Lakes) of the United States that did not require portage. It was faster than carts pulled by draft animals, and cut transport costs by about 95%. The canal fostered a population surge in western New York State, opened regions farther west to settlement, and helped New York City become the chief US port. It was enlarged between 1834 and 1862. In 1918 the approximate western half of the canal was enlarged to partially become the New York State Barge Canal which ran parallel to the eastern half and forms its new eastern branch to the Hudson.

Today the Erie Canal is the cross-state east-west route of the New York State Canal System. In 2000 the United States Congress designated the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to recognize the national significance of the canal system as the most successful and influential human-built waterway and one of the most important works of civil engineering and construction in North America. Mainly used by recreational watercraft since the last large commercial ship (rather than boat), the Day Peckinpaugh in 1994, the canal has recently seen a recovery in commercial traffic.

Open daily from 9 am – 5 pm, May 3rd – October 31st.

Admission: Free

Located on the Erie Canal between the 1825 Flight of Five locks and Locks 34/35 in Lockport


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