Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rochester and the Erie Canal

Phyllis and I took the time to do some more sightseeing around Rochester.
(We look like we are in uniform.)

There are many beautiful homes throughout the area but this one was unusual.

It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  

One of the more noteworthy in the same neighborhood was this home that is now a museum...

It was built by George Eastman of the Eastman Kodak company. Eastman never married and had no children--to me that looks like a lot of house for just one person.
Most everyone recognizes the Eastman name in connection with camera film but here is an interesting piece of trivia: Eastman is the only person represented by two stars in the Hollywood Walk of Fame--for his invention of roll film.

Our next stop was on the Erie Canal. 

The construction of the Erie Canal was one of the monumental economic achievements in early American history. 

It was dug almost entirely by hand and shovel,  and by new immigrants to America who were paid primarily with alcohol.

The Erie Canal is a canal in up-state New York that is part of the east/west, cross-state route of the New York State Canal System.  It ran 363 miles from Albany to Buffalo on Lake Erie.  It was designed to create a water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.  Begun in 1817 it was completed in 1835.  The tariffs from the movement of goods on the canal paid off the entire cost within two years.

The completion of the canal opened the whole western part of New York to development at a far more rapid pace.

From:  Heaven's Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal

             Author: Jack Kelly 

The workers on the canal, like workers in much of the young country, were heavy drinkers.  During the 1820's thousands of folks along the Erie Canal corridor were succumbing to the mind-blasting effects of raw alcohol.  America was reeling through the most phenomenal drinking binge in its history.  Hordes of citizens were living their lives in the woozy, dislocated haze of permanent inebriation.
Western farmers who grew barley, corn and rye found it more profitable to ferment and distill their crops into strong liquor than to ship the grain to market.  Whiskey was plentiful and cheap.  Each man older than fifteen was drinking on average fourteen gallons of hundred proof whiskey every year.    It was cheaper than tea or coffee and  safer to drink than water.

For the canal workers cash was in short supply.  They were paid with bed, board and ample drink.  But workers of any nationality, exposed to the harsh conditions of canal labor and the easy availability of alcohol would have done the same.  As one former worker said, "You wouldn't expect them to work on the canal if they were sober, would you?"

Railroads and eventually highways with large trucks took the place of barges on the canal pulled by mules.  But the canal today is the source of great recreation and pleasure and the small mill towns along its banks are still enjoying the prosperity the canal has afforded.

Through much of Pittsford's history, farming and agriculture related businesses dominated the local economy.  The completion of the Erie Canal in 1824 led to a local commercial boom including the construction of wharves and warehouses along the village's south canal bank.   

Pittsford, N.Y.

The renewed interest in the canal that began in the 1970's resulted in the conversion of the old mills, barns and silos into the shops and restaurants existing today.

I never made it to this store but I suspect it would be worth a visit.

It is probably run by the sister or brother to the docent at the Anthony House.

The Pittsford Flour Mill is one of Pittsford's most visible and well-known landmarks.  Flour milling was conducted in Pittsford for nearly 150 years.  The first mill was built about 1830 near the site of the current building.

Shawn, Marca, Phyllis

It was time to say 'Goodbye' to some lovely new friends.   

                                                     It was a pleasure to meet you 
                              and thank you so much for the very enjoyable visit.  

No comments:

Post a Comment