The National Park Service has announced that it has listed the New York State Barge Canal on the National Register of Historic Places. The designation recognizes the New York State Canal System as a nationally significant work of early twentieth century engineering and construction that affected transportation and maritime commerce for nearly half a century.
The New York State Barge Canal National Register Historic District spans 450 miles and includes the four branches of the state’s canal system: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals– all much enlarged versions of waterways that were initially constructed during the 1820s. The nomination evaluated 791 features and included 552 contributing structures and buildings.
“This recognition from the highest levels of our nation reminds us once again of the essential role New York State and its waterways have played in our country’s development and prominence,” Mike Caldwell, regional director for the National Park Service’s Northeast Region, said in a statement to the media.
Built between 1905 and 1918, the Barge Canal is the direct descendent of the Erie Canal and a network of connecting waterways that have been in continuous operation since 1825, playing a pivotal role in the growth and development of the United States. Today, the canal system continues to allow commercial and pleasure vessels to pass from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.
“Listing the Barge Canal on the National Register of Historic Places is a huge step in preserving and celebrating a nationally important feat of engineering and construction,” said Andy Beers, executive deputy commissioner, Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).
Congressman Paul Tonko and a representative from Senator Kirstin Gillibrand’s office joined leaders from the National Park Service, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, NYS Canal Corporation, and NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today at the eastern gateway to the Erie Canal at Waterford to announce and celebrate the designation.
“The listing is yet another Erie Canalway milestone achieved thanks to the diligent efforts of our staff and partners,” said Bob Radliff, director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “This recognition greatly enhances our ability to achieve our goals of promoting the Corridor as a world-class destination and fostering vibrant communities connected by our waterways.”
Research and documentation for the nomination was prepared by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, National Park Service Documentation Program, and NYS Canal Corporation, in partnership with OPRHP.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.