Education: Publications: Consider the Source:

Grand Celebration! Broadside

This broadside from Geneva, New York announces the completion of the Erie Canal on October 26, 1825. The proclamation of a number of festive activities to be held in honor of this event indicates the importance of this occasion. From that day forward, the Erie Canal would contribute significantly to the economic and demographic development of New York State. This broadside is from the records of the New York State Library in Albany, New York

Key Terms and Words

Broadside - large sheet printed on one side only; poster.

Suggested Lesson Activity

  • Disciplines - Language Arts, Social Studies, Art
  • Grade Levels - 4 - 8
  • Time Frame - one class period
  • Materials Needed:
    • "Grand Celebration!" broadside
    • Page magnifier
    • Erie Canal worksheet
    • Reference materials on Erie Canal
    • Map of New York State

Learning Objectives - Students will:

  1. Locate the Erie Canal on a map
  2. Research information concerning the building of the Erie Canal
  3. Understand the importance of the Erie Canal in the development of New York State and the nation
  4. Compare and contrast the celebrations in the past and those today


  1. Instruct students to find out as much information about the building of the Erie Canal in New York as possible. Different groups of students can be assigned questions:
    1. When was the canal built? (assign to all groups)
    2. How was the canal constructed? How long did it take to build? Were there any major problems?
    3. How was the canal financed? How much did it cost to build?
    4. Who was the governor at that time? How much support did he receive for this project?
    5. Where was the canal located? What major bodies of water did it connect?
    6. How did the canal affect economic development and population patterns in New York State?
  2. Discuss the information gathered by each group.
  3. Distribute a map of New York State. Direct students to draw the Erie Canal on the map. Identify any major transportation routes and areas of population that follow the path of the Erie Canal.
  4. Hand each student or group of students a "Grand Celebration" broadside. Ask them to read the document and pay particular attention to the illustrations.
  5. Instruct students to complete the Erie Canal Worksheet.
  6. Share answers in a class discussion.