Americana in Rome, NY


Site of the Inland Canal

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art ()

Overview Listen

The Inland Canal was begun in 1792 and completed in 1797; it is also known as the Rome Canal. The Erie Canal was re-located to this spot in 1844. The location of the canals created a complicated intersection once roads were built on this location.

Photos

Photo This shows the marker as it was in the 1970s with the now demolished "Living Bridge," an overhead walkway that once provided pedestrians a route over Erie Blvd., in the background, Image courtesy of Rome Historical Society.
Photo This is the map from the New York State Archives; it is an ink wash, and charcoal rendering of the Rome Canal and its environs. (Source: New York State Archives, A0848-77, Canal System Survey Maps, 1832-1843, Map no. E7-54)
Photo This map of Lynchville, as Rome was originally known, shows the Rome Canal and the city without Fort Stanwix, which was not in existence at the time. Image courtesy of Rome Historical Society.
Photo As the marker appears in 2018 looking east toward Black River Blvd, or past the Willett Center and toward the entrance to the Fort. The intersection of Erie Blvd. and James St. is at your back from this angle.

Backstory Listen

This site is a pivotal one in transportation and then of westward expansion as the canal allowed the movement of goods and people further west than the frontier as it existed here during the colonial period. 

The Canal Survey Map of Rome (1834)1 shows the layout of the area when the Rome Canal, the Mohawk River, James St., and Dominick St. as well as the site of Fort Stanwix, bridges, and buildings.  The map (seen below) makes it clear how the intersection ended up looking the way it does today.

This canal was two miles long and extended from the Mohawk River to Wood Creek.2

A contemporary description of the original Rome Canal site: "At Rome a canal 5,352 feet long was proposed as a substitute for the ancient portage path; “apparently the mean depth of the earth to be removed for forming the Canal would be about twelve feet at the greatest depth, hence about 642,240 cubic feet of earth must be removed. The ground though soft is so much interwoven with the roots of trees, and the work will[Pg 30] also be so much retarded by the influx of water into the Canal whilst digging, that it is supposed that one man could not remove above fifty cubic feet per day, hence 12,845 days for one man would be required; which at 4s. per day amounts to £2,569. In very dry times, such as the present, the water in the Mohawk is so little that none can be spared to increase the quantity in Wood Creek. A bulkhead must therefore be placed ... precisely of the height with the level of the water in the Mohawk, a boat then in this low state of the river coming up Wood Creek ... must unlade, and be drawn across the bulkhead into the Canal; there reloaded and proceed through the Canal into the Mohawk River; but when the Mohawk River rises so much as that a quantity of water equal to carry an empty boat is added to the water in the river, the water on the bulkhead will rise to nearly that height, and the empty boat will pass. If the rise be equal to the water drawn by a loaded boat, the boat and its cargo will pass the bulkhead into the Canal. It is evident by this arrangement the navigation of Wood[Pg 31] Creek will be much mended whenever the water in the Mohawk is higher than at present. The whole expence at this place will probably not exceed £3,000.”3



Intersection of N. James St. and Erie Blvd.
Rome, NY 13440

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Sources
1Erie Canal Survey, Rome showing Village of Rome and Dominick Street. New York State Archives. . Accessed June 27, 2018. http://digitalcollections.archives.nysed.gov/index.php/Detail/Object/Show/object_id/43713. The location of the map from the NYS Archives

2Durant, Samuel W. History of Oneida county. Google Books. . Accessed June 27, 2018. https://books.google.com/books?id=dPYpAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA381&lpg=PA381&dq=inland+canal+site+rome+ny+-erie.... This is the digitized version of hte 1878 text.

3Hulbert, Archer Butler. Historic Highways of America, Vol. 14: The Great American Canals. Project Gutenberg. . . http://www.gutenberg.org/files/41008/41008-h/41008-h.htm. This is the full text of the 1904 text published by The Arthur H. Clark Company. It includes maps and illustrations and is a solid source for more informaiton about the later Erie Canal and canals in the US in general.




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