“The Erie Canal"... a ditch that opened the nation!
Thomas Jefferson called plans to build it “little short of madness”. James Madison said it was “impractical at best”.
“It” is the Erie Canal in New York State, an engineering marvel in 1825, an economic juggernaut throughout the 19th century and an increasingly popular recreational delight today.
In this all new digital video production, filmmakers Fran and Brooke Reidelberger travel the canal system from Albany to Buffalo, sailing in the wake of history, enjoying the tranquil beauty, attending the festivals, visiting the old canal towns, and wondering what our country would be like if the canal had never been built.
Aboard “Chicane”, a 65 foot power boat, you will experience the canal and:
- Take a whirlwind tour of Albany, New York state’s bustling capital city.
- Visit “Uncle Sam’s” grave and our nation’s first school of engineering in Troy.
- “Climb” the Waterford Five, the world’s highest series of high lift locks. The lift is 169 feet.
- Explore the Herkimer “diamond mine” and find your own 500 million-year-old crystals with a diamond-like shape and sparkle.
- Sample real beer and root beer at F.X. Matt Brewery, New York’s oldest, in Utica.
- Watch and listen as school children read about American Revolutionary War history at Ft. Stanwix in Rome.
- Tour Rome where digging of the canal began in 1817 and visit the grave of Francis Bellamy, the man who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
- Travel the waterway aboard a mule-drawn packet boat at the Erie Canal Village near Rome.
- Attend the Oz Fest and meet the Munchkins in Chittenango, home of L. Frank Baum, the man who wrote the “Wizard of Oz” stories.
- Enjoy a weekend of summer fun at Sylvan Beach on Oneida Lake, part of today‘s Erie Canal.
- Learn how the canal helped make Syracuse one of the world’s premier salt producing centers.
- Take a dinner cruise and meet a “star-in-the-making” at Baldwinsville.
Traveling aboard “Cayuga”, a traditional canal boat, you will:
- Enjoy incredible wild life in the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.
- Visit the canal town of Palmyra, home to the largest collection of hand-woven coverlets in the U.S. and birthplace of the Mormon Religion.
- Watch the world’s most unusual bridge in operation in Fairport. It‘s listed in “Ripley‘s Believe It Or Not” 16 times!
- Tour Rochester, home to Eastman Kodak, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb and a host of educational and cultural attractions, including Eastman House and the Strong Museum.
- See the church that George Pullman (of Pullman railroad car fame) built in honor of his parents in Albion.
- Watch and listen as canal artist Arthur Barnes interprets canal life onto canvas in Medina.
- Visit Lockport, site of the most difficult engineering and construction job on the Erie Canal. Lockport is also the birthplace of volleyball and the fire hydrant.
- Experience Buffalo to learn about the city’s personal connection with four U.S. presidents and the story behind “Buffalo Wings”.
- Admire the spirit and laugh with the wild and wacky “boat builders” who race for glory in the annual Tonawanda Canal Fest.
- Along the way see an “upside down” bridge, a sloping lift bridge, a floating dam, and more!
Filmed and produced by Fran and Brooke Reidelberger
Scripted and narrated by Fran Reidelberger