Erie Canal

One of Utica's busiest "Street" was the world famous Erie Canal. While a GREAT deal has taken place in Downtown Utica, since the digging began in 1817, the past and present impacts of this canal are still visable in Utica's Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood.

The Eire Canal, Utica, NY

Numerous forges and other manufacturing companies established themselves on along banks of the Erie Canal in Downtown Utica, including many "Boiler-makers". These firms produced; stoves, furnaces, hot water heaters (boilers) and radiators[Ref.].

The Erie Canal was once Utica's most productive street and surly the single greatest reason Utica became a "boomtown". Manufacturing shifted into high gear when the north-south Chenango Canal connected Utica to Pennsylvania's coal fields.

In 1817 the construction of the Erie Canal was started. The canal will run a length of 363 miles (584 km) from Albany on the Hudson River, to Buffalo where it would reach Lake Erie. Started in Rome, the first stretch reached Utica in 1819.

By October 1820, the section of the Erie Canal between Utica and Syracuse was completed. This 98-mile section known as the “Long Level”, because there were few obstructions and the level surface required no locks.

As the Erie Canal is completed in 1825, Utica's population was 5,040 and had a network of streets. The Erie Canal continued to help the city grow in both the east and westerly directions. The Erie was so successful that it was enlarged starting in the 1830s and joined by connecting waterways, including the Chenango Canal.

In 1905 the song "Low Bridge, Everybody Down", by Thomas S. Allen, popularized the Eire Canal. Also known as "Fifteen Years on the Erie Canal", "Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal", "Erie Canal Song", "Erie Barge Canal", and "Mule Named Sal". The song memorializes the years from 1825 to 1880 when the mule barges made boomtowns out of Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, and transformed New York into the Empire State. The tune is sadly nostalgic.

Current day musician, Bruce Springsteen, continued to popularize the world famous canal with his Seeger Sessions Band.

As was the Mohawk River, eventually the Erie Canal was relocated out of Downtown Utica, moved and enlarged northward into North Utica. The "old Erie Canal" was abandoned in the 1920s, eventually filled-in, paved and named Oriskany Street, Utica's East-West Arterial. See a listing of Erie Canal Historcal Records.

Did you know: With the exception of Binghamton and Elmira, every major city in New York falls along the trade route established by the Erie Canal, from New York City to Albany, through Schenectady, Utica and Syracuse, to Rochester and Buffalo. [Ref.]

June 28, 2017 - Landmarks, Better Utica Downtown and #NoHospitalDowntown tour the CoLa neighborhood...

Group pictured above is on Carton Avenue in CoLa's Central-West block group. The Carton Ave location can be found at behind and between the Parcels located at; 442 Lafayette Street and 529 Oriskany Street, West.

May 19, 2017 - Two-hundred years old, a Erie Canal Bicentennial Conference is held in Utica...

On this occasion, the Utica Observer-Dispatch offered many photographs as they also reflected on the Erie Canal's 200 Birthday.

2016 - 2016: Erie Canalway Map & Guide.

We're not opposed to a new hospital, just do not bulldoze Downtown Utica's Historic Columbia-Lafayette Neighborhood... "Build It At St. Luke's!"

Connect with BUD:

Email Us!