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.
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.