Gateway to the West

Gateway to the West (HM1GTB)

Location: Tonawanda, NY 14150 Erie County
Country: United States of America

N 43° 1.263', W 78° 52.68'

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During the 1800s, many Americans and newly arrived immigrants were eager to move west, but this undertaking proved difficult because of the Appalachian Mountains. A natural barrier running from Alabama through Pennsylvania, New York and on into Canada, the mountain chain made western land routes tortuous.

New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton believed a canal could be dug across his state in order to create an inland water route from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Erie, a virtual "Gateway to the West". Many scoffed at the idea, called it "Clinton's Folly," but Clinton persevered and finally on July 4, 1817, digging began on the 363 mile long, 40 foot wide, 4 foot deep canal. The Erie Canal, also commonly referred to as "Clinton's Ditch", was officially opened on October 26, 1825, after eight years and seven million dollars. The ceremony included Clinton "wedding the waters" from Lake Erie with the Atlantic Ocean.

Travel time between New York City and Buffalo was reduced from six weeks to ten days by the Erie Canal. Carrying a steady flow of settlers and commercial traffic, the Erie Canal enriched all communities along its way. New York City became the greatest seaport in the New World and New York became the "EMPIRE STATE".

Series This marker is part of the Erie Canal series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 5:43pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 672904 N 4765337
Decimal Degrees43.02105000, -78.87800000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 1.263', W 78° 52.68'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 1' 15.78" N, 78° 52' 40.8" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)716
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1-3 Main St, Tonawanda NY 14150, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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