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Erie Canal Commemorative Plate, 1825

Plate to Commemorate the Erie Canal Celebration

Plate to Commemorate the Erie Canal Celebration

Other, CSNYS_commemorative_plate
Document Description
A souvenir plate commemorates the opening of the Erie Canal, 1825.
What does this plate commemorate?
What is the picture that is printed on the plate?
Why do you think plates like this were made?
What does the plate show about New Yorkers' opinion of the completion of the canal?
Historical Challenges
Draw a map displaying the route of the Mohawk River in relationship to the Erie Canal.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: How many miles did the keg of water have to travel from Buffalo before mixing with the Atlantic Ocean?
Art: Design a commemorative plate to celebrate the opening of the Erie Canal. Pick a particular event or place to depict on your plate.
American Canal Society. The Canals of New York State. American Canal and Transportation Center, 1995. ISBN: 0933788827
Finch, Roy G. The Story of the New York State Canals. Albany: J.B. Lyon Co., 1925.
Harness, Cheryl. Amazing Impossible Erie Canal. Simon & Schuster Children's, May 1999. ISBN: 0689825846
Larkin, F. Daniel, Julie C. Daniels, and Jean West, eds. Erie Canal: New York's Gift to the Nation, A Document-Based Teacher Resource. Cobblestone Publishng Company, 2001. ISBN: 081267555X
Lockledge, Ann, and Ted Henson. The Hudson River and Erie Canal. Grand Rapids, MI: Instructional Fair, 1998. ISBN: 1568226535
Thompson, Linda. The Erie Canal. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Pub., 2005. ISBN: 1595152237


Historical Context
This plate was made to commemorate the 1825 opening of the Erie Canal.  The picture on the plate shows canal boats waiting to enter the Erie Canal lock at Albany, New York.

The celebration of the opening of the Erie Canal took the form of a voyage along the length of the canal and then down the Hudson River, ending in New York City. On October 26, 1825, eight years after construction began, the entire Erie Canal was officially opened. Other ceremonies took place before this as sections of the canal were finished.  There was a celebration in October 1823 when the section to Albany was completed.  Albany was the entrance to the Erie Canal and the place where the canal intersected with the Hudson River.

The official celebration began in Buffalo, where the packet boat The Seneca Chief bearing Governor Clinton and a company of distinguished citizens began its journey.  It was followed by a second boat called Noah’s Ark, which was carrying various New York State animals. The boats traveled 363 miles to Albany, and then the steamboat Chancellor Livingston took the Seneca Chief in tow for the trip down to New York City.  

The entire trip was announced along the way by cannon fire. On November 4, 1825, the boat arrived in New York City.  At official ceremonies held at Sandy Hook, Governor Clinton poured a keg of Lake Erie water into the Atlantic Ocean.  This was called the Marriage of the Waters.
Essential Question
How does access to better forms of transportation impact all members of a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the object and explain why the completion of the Erie Canal was celebrated by people all across New York.