January 13, 2017
NYS Canal System Designated a National Historic Landmark
As New York State prepares to honor the bicentennial of construction of the Erie Canal in 2017, there is new cause for celebration. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds today announced that 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.
"This recognition from the highest levels of our nation reminds us once again of the essential role New York State and its waterways have played in our country's development and prominence," said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. "This designation recognizes the canals' significance, raises community pride, invites new investments, and enhances their status for residents and visitors."
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. "Significant, Distinctive, Exceptional"
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.
"As we approach the Barge Canal's Centennial year in 2018, as well as the observance of the Erie Canal's Bicentennial period between 2017 and 2025, National Historic Landmark designation of the Barge Canal will be a most deserving step in appropriately honoring 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.
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