The Erie Canal

TRANSPORTATION CHANGES

Horse & Wagon - Boats On The Canal - Trains - Cars

Probably no one event was more important to the early settlement of Upstate New York than the construction of the Erie Canal, which lies just a few miles North of Clifton Springs. In February 1811, the Commission reported in favor of a canal to Lake Erie an( estimated the cost at $5,000,000. In February 1817, the legislature authorized the construction of the middle section of the Erie. The canal was to have 77 locks, each 90 fee long, with a depth of 4 feet and a width of 40 feet. The Erie Canal was completed in 182E and opened for traffic.

In 1826, the first charter to build a railroad towards this area was granted to the Hudson River Railroad Company to construct a 16-mile line between Albany and Schenectady. This was begun in 1830 and completed in 1831. Proposals to complete the line to Geneva by May 15, 1841 were then in order and the first passenger train East from Canandaigua was an excursion to Seneca Falls on July 4, 1841.

A new railroad line to Buffalo, NY was completed in September of 1892, with the arrival of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Traffic rolled in ever increasing numbers. This was to give Clifton Springs a new lease on life as it added a second rail line on the South fringe of the Village.

The third advance, which opened up this section of the State, was the construction of roads. Over the years, as more settlers moved into the area around the Finger Lakes, new highways were built. The New York State Thruway System is the longest toll highway system in the United States, spanning some 641 miles. The main branch from New York City to Buffalo runs 496 miles with the remainder of the system taken up in "branch" lines. A majority of New York State's 62 cities, including the nine largest, are located within its corridor, which contains about 80/a of the state's population and registered motor vehicles. The Rochester-Buffalo Section of the Thruway, a distance of some 63 miles, officially opened on August 25, 1954.

 

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