June 1994

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About the New York State Canals

Information from The Story of the New York State Canals by Roy G. Finch, State Engineer and Surveyor published in Albany in 1925.

The original Erie Canal was begun in 1817 and completed in 1825.

The canal's enlargement to 7-foot draft was completed in 1862.

Tolls were abolished in 1882.

The first Barge Canal work was started in 1905, and the Barge Canal was opened to traffic May 15, 1918.

The Barge Canal includes:

The Erie Canal which is 340.7 miles, from Troy on the Hudson River to Tonawanda on the Niagara River.

The Champlain Canal which is 62.6 miles, from Troy to Lake Champlain.

The Oswego Canal which is 23.8 miles, from Three River Point near Syracuse to Lake Ontario.

The Cayuga and Seneca Canal which is 27.1 miles, connecting Cayuga and Seneca Lakes with the Erie Canal.

There are 347.1 miles of connecting lakes and rivers in the system. The total mileage is 801.3 miles.

The general bottom width in lakes and canalized rivers is 200 feet; the minimum width of canal bottom is 75 feet.

There are 57 locks with varying lifts from 6 feet to 40.5 feet. The combined lift of five locks at Waterford is 169 feet.

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