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2 The Erie Canal

3 THE Erie Canal The canal provided the first important link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

4 The Erie Canal In order to open the country west of the Appalachian Mountains to settlers and to offer a cheap and safe way to carry produce to a market. The construction of a canal was proposed as early as 1768.

5 Travel The Erie Canal helped thousands of settlers make their way west to start new lives.

6 Location of People At the start of the 1800s, most Americans lived along the Atlantic seaboard, a narrow stretch of land on the East Coast.

7 Christopher Colles In 1784, an Irish engineer named Christopher Colles presented a plan for a canal to the New York state Legislature.

8 Opening a Waterway In 1792, the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company was formed with the goal of opening a waterway between the Hudson River and Great Lakes to the west.

9 First Try In 1793, the company began digging a canal.

10 Robert Fulton In 1797, inventor Robert Fulton wrote a letter to President George Washington about the possibility of building a long canal in New York State.

11 Judge James Geddes The survey was led by Judge James Geddes, who eventually walked much of the distance.

12 De Witt Clinton In 1817, Clinton was elected governor of New York.

13 Building the Canal “Nothing like the Erie Canal had ever been built in the United States”.

14 Building the Canal In 1817, there were very few engineers in the United States with any experience in designing canals.

15 Building the Canal The builders of the Erie Canal had to learn as they worked.

16 Building the Canal An English engineer named William Weston agreed to provide expert help to the planners of the Erie Canal.

17 Building the Canal The Canal’s beam measured ten feet wide.

18 Building the Canal The land of New York state was anything but flat and level.

19 Building the Canal Engineers also had to find ways to build the canal over swamps, valleys, and rivers.

20 Building the Canal On July 4, 1817, a crowd gathered in Rome, New York, to see construction begin.

21 Song The Erie Canal is famous in song and story. Proposed in 1808 and completed in 1825, the canal links the waters of Lake Erie in the west to the Hudson River in the east.

22 Opening A small section of the canal opened to boat traffic in 1819. The entire canal was opened in 1825.

23 References Santella, Andrew. The Erie Canal. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Compass Point Books, 2005. May 30, 2008 < http:// May 30, 2008 < http://www. May 30, 2008 < http:// www. May 30, 2008 < http://

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