After the Erie Canal opened in 1825, Lockport changed from a village of log cabins filled with construction workers into an industrial city. English traveler, Francis Trollope describing Lockport said that "It looks as if the demon of machinery, having invaded the peaceful realms of nature, had fixed on Lockport as the battleground on which they should strive for mastery."
A group of investors from Albany took interest in this area, below the canal locks. In 1829, they laid out the streets promoting "Lower Town" as the future center of Lockport. Construction of a bank, hotel, newspaper, railroad, dock, and cottonmill seemed to confirm the promoter's predictions.
In 1850, a branch of the Strap Railroad was laid through "Upper Town." Within months, business and profits began to roll in. Upper Town soon achieved new status and gradually overtook and surpassed Lower Town as the business center of Lockport.
Jesse Hawley. His portrait can be seen in this 19th century memorial engraving of the founders of New York State, third person down from the top right.
Jesse Hawley used his jail sentence well. Beginning in 1807, while serving a 20-month sentence in debtor's prison, he developed his idea for an artificial river connecting Lake Erie and the Hudson River. He poured over maps to find a route, and then wrote 14 persuasive articles to the Ontario Messenger, the local newspaper.
State assemblyman Micah Brooks liked the idea, and Surveyor General Simeon DeWitt investigated its feasibility. Future governor DeWitt Clinton adopted the canal concept, steering the idea through New York's political shoals. Canal advocates remembered Hawley, and invited him to speak at the ground-breaking ceremony on July 4, 1817 in Rome, New york. Clinton himself gave credit to Hawley, calling him a "gentleman of ingenious and reflective mind."
A prominent citizen of Lockport, Hawley, the one-time bankrupt flour merchant, served as city treasurer. He lies buried in Cold Springs Cemetery, just south of here.
Welcome to the Canalway Trail System, offering hundreds of miles of scenic trails and numerous parks for walking, bicycling, cross-country skiing and other recreational activities. The Canalway Trail parallels the New York State.[sic]Canal System, comprised of four historic waterways: the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego, and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. The Canal System spans 524 miles across New York State, linking the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, the Niagara River and Lake Erie.
Cooperative initiatives between the New York State Canal Corporation, volunteers, local governments, and federal and state agencies have created this great network of trails for public use. When completed, the Canalway Trail will span over 500 miles connecting numerous cities, towns and villages along the Canal System, making it one of the most extensive trail networks in the country.
Enjoying the Canalway Trail: Safety Tips
The Canalway Trail is intended to accommodate a variety of users. It is important to extend courtesy to all trail users and respect their rights. In order to avoid conflicts, trail protocal dictates that bicyclists should yield the right-of-way to all trail users and walkers should yield to equestrians. In addition, please observe the following tips for safe trail use.
? Stay to the right except when passing.
? Pass slower traffic on the left; yield to oncoming traffic when passing.
? Keep pets on a short leash.
? As a courtesy to trail neighbors, refrain from loitering near homes.
? Do not litter. Carry out what you carry in.
? When stopped, move over to let other pass.
Hours of Operation:
The Trail is open from Dawn to Dusk
To Report an Emergency call 911.