The Erie Canal

Westward Expansion Activity By: Lydia R. and Bethany T.


The Erie Canal is a canal in New York that originally ran about 363 miles from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York. It was the first transportation system between the eastern seaboard and the Western Interior of the United States.


  • How it became: It was faster than carts pulled by draft animals, and cut transport costs by about 95%. The canal fostered a population surge in western New York State, opened regions farther west to settlement, and helped New York City become the chief US port.
  • Interesting fact: The men who constructed the canal used their bare hands, picks, and shovels, and they were only paid 50 cents each day!
  • Legacy: It was the most successful and influential human-built waterway and one of the most important works of cicil engineering and construction in North America.