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Erie Canal Locks at Lockport, Horses and Mules on the Towpath, c. 1890s

Erie Canal locks at Lockport
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_LoB
Document Description
Horses and mules on the towpath at the Erie Canal locks at Lockport, c. 1890s.
What are the animals doing in the picture?
Why do you think the town is called Lockport?
What was the Erie Canal used for?
Historical Challenges
Research the health concerns that developed while the canal was being built.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Determine the distance in miles between Lockport and Albany. Then calculate how much time it would take to drive the distance if you were traveling sixty miles an hour.
Science: Research which simple machine was used to pull the boats along the canal.

Historical Context
This lock runs through the city of Lockport, New York, and enables boats to continue up the Erie Canal to Lake Erie.  Ground was broken in Rome, New York, in 1817 to commence the building of the Erie Canal, which was opened in 1825.

A lock is an enclosure with a gate at each end that is used to raise or lower boats from one water level to another on a river or canal.  A boat enters a lock through one gate.  The gate is then closed, and the water level in the lock rises or lowers until it is equal to the water level on the opposite side.  The gate on the opposite side opens, and the boat can continue on its journey. 

Essential Question
How does geography impact technology?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain how the geography influenced the development of this technology.