You are here

Map of the New York State Barge Canal System, 1922

Barge Canal. Map of the Barge Canal System
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_A7323
 
Document Description
Map of the New York State Barge Canal System in New York State, 1922.
 
Questions
According to the map, are most of the cities along the Erie Branch of the Barge Canal above or below sea level?
What are three bodies of water that the Erie Branch of the Barge Canal enters?
Why do you think so many cities and towns are located so close to the Barge Canal?
 
Historical Challenges
The Barge Canal remained an important form of commercial transport for almost seventy-five years. What happened to cause the canal to decline as a main form of commercial transportation?
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: Why was the expansion of the Barge Canal necessary to accommodate heavier cargo boats?
English Language Arts: Design an advertising campaign to attract new business as a result of the expansion of the Barge Canal.
 
Resources
American Canal Society. The Canals of New York State. American Canal and Transportation Center, 1995. ISBN: 0933788827
Harness, Cheryl. Amazing Impossible Erie Canal. New York: Bradbury Press, 1995. ISBN: 0689825846, 0027426416
Hurst, Carol Otis. Through the Lock. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. ISBN: 0618030360.
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
Stein, R. Conrad. The Erie Canal. New York: Children's Press, 2004. ISBN: 0516242431.
 

Historical Context
The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 promoted westward expansion and the development of western New York, and increased the amount of trade for New York City.  As time passed, expansion of the canal was necessary to transport more cargo and to compete with the developing railroads.  The expansion of the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Seneca-Cayuga Canals into the Barge Canal System began in 1905 and was completed in 1918.  The Barge Canal made use of the Mohawk, Seneca, and Oswego Rivers as part of the new route.  Barges with cargoes up to 3,000 tons traveled the 353 miles from Albany to Buffalo.  The New York State Barge Canal remained an important form of commercial transport for almost seventy-five years.
 
Essential Question
How does technology impact the geography and economy of a society?
 
Check for Understanding
Identify the three key characteristics of the canal system in New York and evaluate the impact of the canals on the geography and economy of local communities.