Little Falls, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Claudia Tenney today unveiled the National Historic Landmark plaque at the Erie Canal Lock 17. The visit follows Senator Gillibrand’s multi-year push to designate the New York State Barge Canal as a National Historic Landmark.
“The New York State Barge Canal has played a pivotal role in the growth and development of not only New York State but the entire country. It facilitated and shaped the course of settlement in New York and established the region as a premiere seaport and commercial center,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I was proud to fight for this designation because the canal is a symbolic reminder of New York’s excellence from the 1800s to this present day, honoring generations of our history and industry. With this National Historic Landmark designation, the New York Canal System will once again take on that central role in our state, and will be a hub for visitors, students, and families to come learn about our incredible past, and be inspired to do great things in the future.”
“It’s an honor to join Senator Gillibrand today at Erie Canal Lock 17 to unveil a plaque designating the New York State Barge Canal as a National Historic Landmark. The Barge Canal, completed in 1921, has been a driving component of our local economy and continues to be a significant part of our heritage here in upstate New York,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. “The canal facilitated trade throughout Upstate and helped to establish our region as a hub of economic activity in the early 20th century. Designating this local landmark as a National Historic Landmark, will allow the Park Service to work with our local communities to better preserve this important local gem.”
“Living and working along the canal every day, I am always impressed that we have such a beautiful and historic resource that continues to serve as an engine for progress in New York State. This designation ensures that the canal system will be preserved for residents and visitors to enjoy now and in the future,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
“Under the leadership of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, there has been a wealth of economic development, investment and recreation activities along the entire Canal System including this year’s celebration of the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal. New York Canals support nearly $400 million in annual tourism spending across upstate, and more than $6 billion in economic activity for non-tourism uses. We are proud that the National Historic Landmark designation further recognizes the prominent role New York’s Canals have played – and continue to play – in the development of the nation’s economic and cultural heritage,” said Brian U. Stratton, Director of the New York State Canal Corporation.
Last year, Senator Gillibrand first called on the National Park Service to designate of the NYS Canal as a National Historic Landmark. After the National Historic Landmarks Committee of the National Park System Advisory Board moved to approve the designation in November, Gillibrand renewed her pushed and urged the U.S. Department of the Interior to deliver the final approval needed to officially designate the NYS Canal as a National Historic Landmark. Gillibrand was also instrumental in the New York Barge Canal being added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places in 2014, positioning the Canal for designation as a National Historic Landmark. National Historic Landmark status will help attract increased investment to the canal system and its adjacent communities.
This year marks the bicentennial of the start of construction of the Erie Canal, which eventually became the New York State Barge Canal system.
The NYS Barge Canal extends through Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. The Barge Canal’s main waterway is the Erie Canal, which made New York State a hub for global commerce, transforming the state’s and nation’s economy. The National Historic Landmark includes the four historic branches of the state’s 20th century canal system, the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals, and stretches 450 miles over 18 counties.