The NYS Canal System has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
The designation places New York’s operating canals among the premier historic sites in the United States. The Adirondack Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1963, and is the largest NHL.
The National Historic Landmark designation includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals. Direct successors of canals built during the 1820s, these waterways were enlarged to their current dimensions between 1905 and 1918. They remain in service today passing commercial and pleasure vessels between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.
Less than 3% of the thousands of places currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places are designated National Historic Landmarks. The designation specifically recognizes the canal for its role in shaping the American economy and settlement, as an embodiment of the Progressive Era emphasis on public works, and as a nationally significant work of early 20th century engineering and construction. Its 450 miles of navigation channels, locks, lift bridges, dams, power houses, and maintenance shops together represent a significant, distinctive, and exceptional entity.
The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation, spearheaded the nomination.
Photo provided by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Center.
A version of this article was first published on the Adirondack Almanack.