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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tonawanda in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Gateway to the West

 
 
Gateway to the West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, September 13, 2014
1. Gateway to the West Marker
Inscription. During the 1800s, many Americans and newly arrived immigrants were eager to move west, but this undertaking proved difficult because of the Appalachian Mountains. A natural barrier running from Alabama through Pennsylvania, New York and on into Canada, the mountain chain made western land routes tortuous.

New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton believed a canal could be dug across his state in order to create an inland water route from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Erie, a virtual "Gateway to the West". Many scoffed at the idea, called it "Clinton's Folly," but Clinton persevered and finally on July 4, 1817, digging began on the 363 mile long, 40 foot wide, 4 foot deep canal. The Erie Canal, also commonly referred to as "Clinton's Ditch", was officially opened on October 26, 1825, after eight years and seven million dollars. The ceremony included Clinton "wedding the waters" from Lake Erie with the Atlantic Ocean.

Travel time between New York City and Buffalo was reduced from six weeks to ten days by the Erie Canal. Carrying a steady flow of settlers and commercial traffic, the Erie Canal enriched all communities along its way. New York City became the greatest seaport in the New World and New York became the "EMPIRE STATE".
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Erie Canal marker series.
 
Location.

Plaza Dedication Sign image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, September 13, 2014
2. Plaza Dedication Sign
On left pillar.
43° 1.263′ N, 78° 52.68′ W. Marker is in Tonawanda, New York, in Erie County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Young Street when traveling north on Main Street. Click for map. Marker is on the right stone pillar of the entrance to Tonawanda Gateway Harbor Overlook Plaza. Marker is in this post office area: Tonawanda NY 14150, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lumber Capital (a few steps from this marker); The Dam (a few steps from this marker); The Railroad (within shouting distance of this marker); Roll of Honor (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Roll of Honor (within shouting distance of this marker); Lumber Port (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Long Homestead (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Long Homestead (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Tonawanda.
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Gateway to the West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, September 13, 2014
3. Gateway to the West Marker
Looking eastward at the Erie Barge Canal (Tonwanda Creek).
Gateway to the West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, September 13, 2014
4. Gateway to the West Marker
Distant view. Main Street is right to left.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 240 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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