While America celebrated it's 241st birthday of Independence, another major birthday celebration took place right here in Central New York. The Erie Canal celebrated it's 200th anniversary. 

Construction of the canal began July 4th 1817 in Rome at what is now Worthington Industries. The entire canal was officially completed on October 26th 1825 at a cost of $7,143,000. It was acclaimed as an engineering marvel that united the country and helped New York City become a financial capital. Without those first shovels in Rome, the cities of Rochester, Buffalo, and Chicago wouldn't be what they are today.

In 2000, the United States Congress designated the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to recognize the national significance of the canal system as the most successful and influential human-built waterway and one of the most important works of civil engineering and construction in North America. Just think, it all started here in Central New York.

Rome native Mike Kohli celebrated the 200th anniversary throughout the 4th:

America isn't America without the Erie Canal. Today marks the 200th anniversary of the day soil was broken for the construction of this engineering marvel that changed everything. The building of the Erie brought jobs, attracted immigrants, created cities and opened up the west. I cannot overstate the importance of this waterway. Happy Birthday, Erie Canal and Happy Birthday to America."


 

BONUS VIDEO