It has taken 200 years of hard work, vision and stewardship to reach this historic moment in time. As our National Parks and Historic Landmarks turn into living laboratories, places of comfort, recreation and pride – our work has just begun. After all the news cameras left and the Commission convened, a message from one man’s perspective was delivered to the Commission and Board of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
Loading the player...
-- Message delivered by John R. Grala 2017-01-18 --
A quick survey revealed many residents along the Erie Canalway National Historic Corridor (ECNHC) seemed unaware of the recent National Historic Landmark designation and what it means to them.
Since the cameras had left and there was no audio transcript, Mr. Grala was urged to record his message for all to hear. No band played while Mr. Grala spoke. The patriotic background music was added to reflect the festive occasion. The Commission and Board did provide a resounding applause though!
For convenience, an excerpt of the original ECNHC / NPS posting is provided below, with direct links to source document information.
Opens in new window Ref: Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
Opens in new window Ref: U.S. Department of the Interior
## Below Reference Source 1/11/2017: Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
A National Honor
On January 11, 2017 Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds announced the NYS Canal System has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The designation places the currently operating canal system among the premier historic sites in the United States.
The NYS Canal System is remarkable in its span, scope, and historical integrity. The National Historic Landmark designation includes 450 miles of navigation channels and 552 contributing structures and buildings that operate today largely as they did when the system went into operation in 1918.
The New York State Barge Canal
Built between 1905 and 1918, the Barge Canal is the direct descendent of the Erie Canal and a network of connecting waterways that have been in continuous operation since 1825. For nearly 200 years, commercial and pleasure vessels have used the canal system to pass from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.
New York’s canals were enormously successful and had to be enlarged repeatedly during the 19th century to accommodate larger boats and increased traffic. The Barge Canal, constructed 1905-18, is the latest and most ambitious enlargement. It has 57 massive concrete lock chambers with steel gates and valves operated by electric motors driven by power generated onsite. When opened, the Barge Canal passed boats with more than ten times the capacity of its predecessor. It also featured innovative designs for lift bridges, fixed bridges, and movable dams.
Compared with the Panama Canal, which was under construction at the same time (1904-14), New York’s Barge Canal was more than ten times longer, required nearly ten times as many locks and many more bridges and ancillary structures, and involved about 60 percent of the excavation and concrete.
Today, navigable portions of the system include the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals. This network of canals, canalized rivers, and lakes allows commercial and pleasure vessels to pass from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. The system is owned and operated by the New York State Canal Corporation, a state agency.
National Historic Landmark Documents
The comprehensive documentation compiled for the National Register listing and NHL designation now serves as a valuable public record. The detailed statement of significance, as well as descriptions of all canal system features, including locks, dams, bridges, and other structures...