Constructed in an era when roads were little more than ruts and dirt pathways, the Erie Canal opened up East-West trade in the newly developing United States, providing an all water connection between the interior U. S. and the Atlantic coast seaports. Built almost entirely by man and horsepower, construction began on the canal on July 4, 1817 with little public support and no government funding.

This online exhibit of the Erie Canal is a the result of a collaboration between the Seymour B. Durst Old York Library and The Eighteenth-Century Reading Room at the CUNY Graduate Center, and was supported in part by funds from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Database Program.

Exhibition Sponsors

We are grateful for the support provided by the following organizations that provided support that enabled the creation of this project.