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drew tears to his eyes, according to the accounts of the time.

After the surrender of the British at Yorktown, Va., on October 19, 1781, a period of waiting ensued, and it was not until April 11, 1783, that congress proclaimed the cessation of hostilities and the British began the active movements preliminary to the evacuation of New York. The Hessian troops were embarked in August, and on August 5th news reached Philadelphia "that Sir Guy Carleton is dismantling the fortifications at Kingsbridge.'

On November 12, 1783, Sir Guy notified Washington that he would withdraw from Kingsbridge and McGown's Pass on November 21st, and on November 19th he reiterated the notice. We deduce from contemporary records that the camps and the works between Kingsbridge and McGown's Pass had been practically evacuated before the 21st, and on that date even the nominal control

of Fort Tryon and its environs passed from the enemy four days before the city proper was evacuated.

The outline of Fort Tryon was well preserved in the early part of the nineteenth century, and is shown on John Randel's survey of February 1, 1819, as a work measuring about 250 feet across its greatest diameter, from southwest to northeast. Its site is on the western side of Fort Washington avenue, on lots Nos. 45, 46 and 47 of the Chittenden estate. the Chittenden estate. Fortunately a conspicuous part of the fort has been preserved northeast of the house formerly owned by Mr. C. K. G. Billings, but now owned by Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The site of Fort Tryon is included in the 50-acre tract recently offered by Mr. Rockefeller to the city of New York for a public park. It is reported that it will be used temporarily by the United States government for war purposes.


One of the interesting sights in Saratoga Springs is the former gambling palace owned and operated for many years by the late Richard Canfield whose name was known to the sporting fraternity in two conti

nents. After gambling had been suppressed in Saratoga Springs, the city purchased the property, including Congress park, from Mr. Canfield and it is now used for municipal purposes including a museum exhibiting historic relics relating to that region.

Mr. Canfield expended hundreds of thousands of dollars on the building and millions of dollars are said to have been lost and won in this palace during the palmy days of gambling. The city of Saratoga Springs has added to the beauty of the grounds surrounding the building and the park with its wonderful trees, shrubs, flowers and fountains is one of the State's show places, and is visited by thousands. of tourists yearly.



Story of a great celebration nearly a century ago when New York State achieved
an engineering triumph- Known as the "Grand Erie Canal" in those days


State Engineer's Office

During this summer a formal celebration of the com- now, but still the canal which more than any pletion of the barge canal will be observed by the erection other single agency was responsible for the remarkable growth and prosperity of the State and the city of New York in the first half of the nineteenth century, and which gave to that prosperity such an initial impetus that its influence continues to the present time.

of a tablet at some point along the waterway. In 182593 years ago the opening of the Erie canal, predecessor of the barge canal, was celebrated from Buffalo to New York city by a procession of boats and meetings of enthusiastic citizens all long the newly constructed channel. In this year of tremendous events, little heed will be paid to the ceremony of opening the greater canal but the story of the celebration nearly a century ago is still an interesting Mr. Whitford, as the author of a history of the canal, is perhaps the most capable of any man in the State to tell that story.- EDITOR.


S Americans we


are not given to spending much time in formal celebrations of the work we do. We order great undertakings and then almost forget them, expecting that they will be duly accomplished. In the Noble E. Whitford busy rush of American life, especially modern American life, we think we have no time for such ceremonies. Perhaps we would do well if we did take time for them.

However, there was one event in the early history of New York State which was so momentous that even the people responsible for its accomplishment could foresee in some measure its importance and its coming beneficence, and this event was suitably celebrated. On first thought it would seem that it was extravagantly celebrated. The event was the building of the original Erie canal, the "Grand Canal" of our forefathers, the canal which seems so pitifully small to us

Because 1918 is witnessing the completion of a vastly greater New York State canal, which according to legislative provision will shortly be celebrated in fitting manner, we are interested in recalling some of the scenes that accompanied the opening of the original Erie canal in 1825.

Standing at a point of time one hundred and one years removed from the beginning of the canal, we can hardly appreciate the difficulties of the early builders. The nation was young and its financial resources were small. Our whole State had but one-fifth of the population of New York city today. To the great majority of the people canals were only a name. Engineering was an unknown profession in America, and of contractors there were none. Excavating machinery was still to be invented, and the track of the canal was an unbroken forest or miasmal marsh. To add to the difficulties, sectional prejudices were developed, the older and more influential eastern section fearing to compete with the developing grain industry of western New York. The men to champion this cause were necessarily of a strong and determined character, and such as to incite the political antagonism which arrayed itself against the project. The conservative were fearful lest it might be, as


Jefferson said, a century too soon. The national government would not aid even by granting its unsaleable western lands, which the canal eventually transformed into flourishing states. For New York to undertake the work unaided was considered by many as equivalent to dooming the State to bankruptcy. Even after it was begun, appropriations were obtained from the legislature year by year with the utmost difficulty, and in derision it was said that in Clinton's "big ditch would be buried the treasure of the State, to be watered by the tears of posterity." And strangest of all, when legislative action to authorize construction was pending, all the members from New York city, which the canal was destined to make the commercial metropolis of the continent, were bitterly opposed.

But alone and unaided the State began the work and carried it to a successful completion. From among her own citizens, commissioners, engineers and contractors were found, capable of performing the great task. The solving of many difficulties trained the engineers to such a degree that they were called to construct public works all over the land. Contractors, who were so deficient as to need a loan from the State of a few hundred dollars for purchasing their tools and supplies, accomplished their work with despatch. At the end of eight years, after having completed nearly 450 miles of canals, many of these men were aboard the first boat that sailed from Buffalo to New York in a celebration such as the world had never seen. And well might they rejoice over a task so perfectly, so economically and so quickly done, and one which was so nearly to fulfill their expectations in bringing added strength and prosperity to the land. As we cannot easily appreciate the difficulties which confronted the builders, so we do not readily perceive how much the opening of such a means of communication meant to the people of the day. Viewed from the conditions of

the time, their extravagant rejoicings seem entirely fitting.

In the autumn of 1825, as the canal was nearing completion, the common council of the city of New York, at the instigation of many prominent citizens, made arrangements to celebrate the event with such public demonstrations as a work so great and so beneficial to the State deserved. This celebration was participated in by nearly all of the cities and villages along the line of the waterway from Buffalo to New York. The 26th of October had been appointed as the date of the celebration, as the canal commissioners had determined that the canal would be ready for navigation on that day. The arrangements provided for fitting demonstrations to be held throughout the State on that day, and also for the starting from Lake Erie of a fleet of boats which was to traverse the whole length of the canal to Albany and then to proceed down the Hudson to New York and on to Sandy Hook, where the ceremony of uniting the waters brought from Lake Erie with those of the Atlantic was to


Early on the morning of the appointed day the village of Buffalo was thronged with people gathered to see the departure of the first boat. At nine o'clock a procession of the various societies of mechanics was formed at the court house and proceeded to the head of the canal. Here the Governor of the State, the Lieutenant-Governor, a committee from the New York common council and the committees from Buffalo and various other villages embarked on the boat "Seneca Chief," which was elegantly fitted for the occasion and carried among its articles of freight two kegs of Lake Erie water. One of the passengers upon the "Seneca Chief" was Mr. William L. Stone, who wrote a graphic description of the whole celebration. From this narrative part of the material for the present account is taken. The "Seneca Chief" headed a flotilla consisting of the

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Niagara," at Black Rock, and the "Young Lion of the West" at Lockport. Another boat called "Noah's Ark," carried a cargo of "products of the West," which included a bear, two eagles, two fawns, several fish and two Indian boys.

Copyright, C. Y. Turner Governor Dewitt Clinton and party in 1826 on the forward deck of a canal packet, celebrating the opening of the Erie canal. The boat is shown entering the wonderful Mohawk valley on its way from Buffalo to Albany and New York

At ten o'clock, as the fleet entered the canal, the fact of the embarkation of the first boat from the lakes to the ocean was heralded throughout the length of the State by the firing of cannon stationed at suitable intervals, each of which caught up the message in turn and passed it to its neighbor. Thus was sounded a grand salute, from a battery five hundred miles long, such as the world had never heard before, announcing an event which was equally new in the world's history. The message was carried from Buffalo to New York in an hour and thirty minutes and then returned again to Buffalo. The cannon used at Lockport were those with which Perry conquered upon Lake Erie and the gunner was a lieutenant of Napoleon's army.

The journey to New York was a continuous series of ovations. In the country, the banks were lined with the cheering crowds, and at the gaily decorated villages, the boats were greeted by the firing of cannon or the display of fireworks, while the distinguished passengers, after the interchange of congratulatory speeches, were entertained in a royal manner at banquets and balls.

At Lockport," the spot where the waters were to meet when the last blow was struck,"


and where "nature had interposed her strongest barrier to the enterprises and the strength of man," the celebration was “ such as to do honor to the work." When the grand salute from Buffalo had passed, boats laden with prominent citizens had ascended the flight of locks and proceeded to Pendleton where the fleet was met and escorted back to Lockport. At Rochester the boat called the Young Lion of the West" was stationed at the entrance to the basin, and upon its approach hailed the "Seneca Chief," and the following dialogue ensued:


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“A.— By the authority and by the enterprise of the patriotic People of the State of New York."

At Syracuse the floating procession was met by a large concourse of citizens, and the address of welcome was delivered by Joshua Forman, who in 1808 had introduced the first resolution in the legislature relative to the Erie canal.

At Rome was found the first evidence of dissatisfaction. "The proceedings at this place on the twenty-sixth," says the early narrator, "were of a singular character, partaking of joy and sorrow, of chagrin and satisfaction. It will be remembered that the inhabitants of Rome contended for the location of the canal through their village, instead of the route finally determined on, not so much as a matter of justice to them, as one of expediency and economy. Their hopes were frustrated, and they have never ceased to feel that they have been dealt by unjustly." To express their feelings, they formed a procession, and bearing a black barrel, filled with water from the old canal, with muffled drums, they marched to the new canal, into which they poured the contents of the black barrel. They then, in quick time, returned to Starr's hotel, where they put aside their ill humor, and joined with heart and hand in celebrating the event which had on that day congregated thousands of their fellow-citizens."

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When the boats from the west arrived at Rome, they were received with the usual courtesies.

Next to the work through the "Mountain Ridge" at Lockport, the construction at Little Falls, where the canal bed was excavated in solid rock, was the most formidable labor executed. Arriving here at night, the flotilla was greeted by bonfires on the impending crags, and the usual addresses and banquet followed.

At Schenectady was again displayed a feeling of dissatisfaction. Here had been the terminus of the Mohawk traffic and the

beginning of the portage to Albany, and the people of Schenectady looked upon the new canal as a menace to their prosperity. A leading newspaper had proposed a funeral procession and no preparations for a reception were made. However, the distinguished guests were received respectfully but without enthusiasm and conducted to a hotel where dinner was eaten in a sober manner. The "College Guards," formed of students in Union College, rose above the local feeling and partly relieved the solemnity of the occasion, by appearing in handsome uniforms and welcoming the boats by a salute of musketry.

At Albany occurred the most elaborate reception yet encountered, a whole day being spent in the celebration. A procession, which included the Governor and LieutenantGovernor, canal commissioners, engineers and assistants, judicial officers of the State and Union, army and navy officers, most of the State officers, military and commercial societies, and many others, proceeded to the capitol, where appropriate exercises were held in the assembly chamber. Then they marched to the elaborately decorated bridge over the Hudson, upon which tables had been placed to accommodate six hundred guests.

In the journey down the river the canal boats were taken in tow by steamboats and joined by several more, so that quite a formidable fleet was presented. No stops were made and a day and a night were consumed in the passage to New York. From the villages on the banks, salutes were fired by day and fireworks exhibited by night. On the morning of the fourth of November, the passengers awoke opposite New York "to greet the beautiful dawn of a day long to be remembered in the annals of our State and country."

For the final ceremony of uniting the waters of Lake Erie with those of the ocean, the fleet was joined by many superbly deco

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