The Erie's Cities

A River of Prosperity

Erie DVD

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New York City was the main benefactor of the Erie's commercial success

New York City was the biggest benefactor of the Erie Canal's success.  Both Philadelphia and Boston were larger cities than New York until just a few years before the Erie's completion, but in the years following 1825, New York City surged to become the preeminent city in America - and in time even a major player on the world stage.

Boston, Philadelphia and New York were all nearly the same size when the Erie Canal was begun in 1817.

In order for a port to be successful, good overland transportation to the surrounding countryside was also needed.  Roads were horrible back then, and railroads hadn't made their appearance yet.  For heavy cargoes, water was the preferred means of transportation - when it was available!

That changed quickly when the Erie was completed in 1825.

When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, it opened the door to the transfer of heavy cargoes from not only Central and Western New York:  Produce from parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and eventually even southern Canada all found their way into New York City via "Clinton's Ditch".