Erie Canal – UNESCO World Heritage Site designation needs to be pursued.

On July 4, 1817 construction of the 363 mile long Erie Canal and its 83 locks began at the city of Rome, New York.

The 200th anniversary of that historic construction start arrives on July 4, 2017.

New York State Gov. DeWitt Clinton’s project was constructed without the help, financial or otherwise, of the national government in Washington, DC. The $7,100,000 construction cost was paid off in 7 years, proof of it’ssuccess. The maximum anticipated capacity of the canal was 1.5 million tons. Traffic on the canal was at that level almost immediately. In 1834 expansion plans were being made.

The Erie Canal transformed the United States. The wedding of the fresh waters of the Great Lakes with the salt waters of the world’s oceans saw hundreds of thousands of people, timber, agricultural products, manufactured products, flour, chemicals, ores, etc move not only across United States but also to and from the world at-large.

Sadly, this early 19th century engineering marvel goes unrecognized. There is no move underway to have the Erie Canal declared a UNESCO “World Heritage Site” in recognition of its role in making the world smaller and more interconnected. It does not appear among the U.S. sites being recommended by the United States to UNESCO. It is time for Washington to step up to the plate by asking for consideration as a World Heritage Site.

The clock is ticking.

Four pictures tell a four thousand word story about Buffalo’s heritage.

Four pictures tell a four thousand word story about Buffalo’s heritage thanks to the Library of Congress and my cousin Bill.  Bill by the way lives in Shrewsbury, England UK.  He had received an email from a friend who had sent him several dozens of images that had been restored by the Library of Congress from the turn of the 19th century.  Within that group of almost 100 photographs were four from the City of Buffalo.

I thought I would share them as they are great images of a City that was an economic giant 110 years ago and was the 8th largest U.S. city as a result.  The will be no more comment the pictures like all pictures tell their own tale.  Hope you enjoy.

Labor Day Parade - Main St. (1900)

Labor Day Parade -
Main St. (1900)

Unloading ore from "Whaleback Carrier (1901)

Unloading ore from “Whaleback Carrier (1901)


"Looking up Main Street .Steamer North Land at Long Wharf " 1905

“Looking up Main Street .Steamer North Land at Long Wharf ” 1905

Buffalo 1905a

 “Jack-Knife Bridge, City Ship Canal, foot of Michigan Street ” 1905

15th annual Cycling the Erie Canal bike tour from Buffalo to Albany

Cycling the Erie Canal Kicks Off July 7th

500 Miles, 400 Miles, 8 Days!

The 15th annual Cycling the Erie Canal bike tour from Buffalo to Albany begins this Sunday, July 7th in Buffalo. More than 500 cyclists of all ages will set off on the Canalway Trail for the 400-mile, eight-day journey. Along the way, they will be treated to fine scenery, fascinating history, and the extraordinary hospitality of canal communities.

Watch for riders as they pass through your area, welcome them to your community, or join them for a mile or two!


Sunday, July 7: Buffalo to Medina

Monday, July 8: Medina to Pittsford

Tuesday, July 9: Pittsford to Seneca Falls

Wednesday, July 10: Seneca Falls to Syracuse

Thursday, July 11: Syracuse to Rome

Friday, July 12: Rome to Canajoharie

Saturday, July 13: Canajoharie to Scotia

Sunday, July 14: Scotia to Albany

Cycling the Erie is organized by Parks & Trails New York. The NYS Canal Corporation is the Premier State Sponsor, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is the event’s Heritage Sponsor.

I’m looking forward to this.  I will watch the bikers as they pass the Lockport Locks.

Are you intertested in a World Heritage education?

Are you interested in an education based on World Heritage and its impact on today’s world?  If you are you might want to take a look at these three institutions of higher education.  As the world’s population and economy expands the focus is becoming more and more about the future.  Growing numbers of people  are becoming disinterred in the past and global heritage.  Some one has to lead the struggle to save our heritage.

University of Tsukuba World Heritage Studies

University of Florida  – Paris Research Center

University of Minnesota  Center for World Heritage

University of Birmingham (UK) – Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage

Good Luck!

No change to USA UNESCO World Heritage Site nominations.

"Flight of Five" (1825) Lockport, NY - Source: Wikimedia

“Flight of Five” (1825) Lockport, NY – Source: Wikimedia

It has been 5 years since the USA released its list.   No change to USA UNESCO World Heritage Site nominations.  As far as is known, Western New York elected official on the local, state, national level and the public seem uninterested in supporting a nomination for the Erie Canal or Buffalo’s Frank Lloyd Wright “Darwin Martin House.”

About one year ago I even posted the idea on to the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise groups under the heading “An effort to have the Erie Canal designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site might lead to business development.”  Received only one like from its 1000 group members.

Here is the list of USA nominated locations.

 Last Revision:  1/30/2008


I don’t have any political connections.  No one has responded to me these past 2 years.  If you do, send the official you know this form.  It will download to you as an MS Word document.:

This is the link to the official UNESCO World Heritage Site Operational Guidelines

Summer is nearly upon us!

Dear Mike,

Summer is nearly upon us! With numerous events scheduled throughout the Canalway Corridor each week, it’s a great time of year to enjoy the tremendous heritage and recreational appeal of our waterway and trails. We especially want to call your attention to the BIG FOUR corridor-wide events happening this year.
Please also refer to full 2013 schedule of events at:


Best Regards,


Beth Sciumeca, Director
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Some interesting facts about the Erie Canal.

Some interesting facts about the Erie Canal include the fact it impacted America and America did not construct it.

1.  President Thomas Jefferson ( of Virginia) would not aid in the construction of the canal and called it nothing short of madness.

2.  President James Monroe (of Virginia)  vetoed legislation that would help in the construction of the canal saying it was unconstitutional.

3.  When the Erie Canal opened in 1825 it  cost $7,000,000 to construct (about $4,000,000,000 today) and was paid off in less than 10 years.

4.  The United States paid $7,200,000 for the  586,000 sq. miles that is Alaska in 1867.

5.  Dirt and Rubble removed during the construction of the canal was used as land fill around New York City.

6.  At the end of its first full year of operation, 13000 canal boats transported 40,000 settlers westward from Albany.

7.  At the end of its first full year of operation – 562,000 bushels of wheat – 221,000 bushels of flour – 435,000 gallons of  whiskey – 32 million board feet of lumber – totally about 185,000 tons of cargo moved eastward towards Albany on the Canal.

8.  The terminus of the Erie Canal in Buffalo was called the Erie Basin.  The terminus of the Erie Canal in Red Hook Brooklyn was a man-made harbor for canal boats called the Erie Basin.

9. By the time tolls were removed from the canal in 1882,  $121 million dollars in revenue went to the New York State  treasury.

10.  Dewitt Clinton, father of the Erie Canal, died in 1828.  He left his family in financial trouble.  He managed Erie Canal finances extremely well and he was unable to match that astuteness in his personal life.

Incidentally, the Erie Canal, renamed the New York State Barge Canal, is the only major inland waterway in the United States that has never been  maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the taxpayers of the United States.

Finally, according to the  2007 Internal Revenue Services spending statistics, the Commonwealth of Virginia is the beneficiary of more U.S. government spending than 46 U.S. states.  But, why hold a 200 year old grudge?

Tourists from South America visit Lockport Locks.

I work for Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises during the summer tourist season .  Yesterday’s Memorial Day tourist season kickoff saw a large group of tourists arrive from South America to take the cruise.  Last year I had the opportunity to be with groups that came from Puerto Rico, Colombia and Spain.

This large group of tourists included a number of families with young children.   Sadly I don’t speak Spanish.  A few of them spoke English, including their guide.  What a super friendly and pleasant group of people.   They appeared to be enjoying their visit.  Unfortunately, they all arrived by bus from NYC where their vacation began.  Too bad there is not much of an effort to entice the big tour operators to begin their foreign visitor tours via the Buffalo or Niagara Falls’ airports, heading to NYC from here instead of vice-versa.  If tourist groups could be enticed to spend just one extra day in the area it would be a big plus for the local economy.


The Buffalo Skyway can be adapted for non-vehicular re-use.

The Buffalo Skyway can be adapted for non-vehicular re-use, all we need do is look for alternatives to demolition.  The bridge is a familiar sight to anyone one who lives in or has visited the city. An observer on a boat on Lake Erie, the Niagara River or standing on the Fort Erie, Canada waterfront is treated to a signature view.

Buffalo Skyway crosses  the Buffalo River

Buffalo Skyway crosses the Buffalo River

The Skyway was designer and lead engineer was Edward P. Lupfer,  He had a similar role in the construction of the International Peace Bridge in the late 1920s.  The Skyway came to life in October 1955 as a route between the heavy steel and cargo industries on the Buffalo Outer Harbor and City of Lackawanna.

It was constructed 7,000 feet long to allow for a water clearing elevation of 193 ft over the Buffalo Ship Canal and 215 ft over the Buffalo River.  This made it possible for the ships of the various Great Lakes fleets access the Buffalo River inner harbor cereal, grain storage, chemical, steel, warehousing and other industries that lined a 5 mile segment of the river.

Today, the heavy industry of the lake and river waterfronts are gone.  River traffic is probably down to less than 25 ships per year instead of 25+ ships per day.  It has been reported that it keeps some 30 acres of prime waterfront from being developed.  The New York State Department of Transportation has labeled the structure as a “deficient” bridge.  The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is even more harsh calling the Skyway :”fracture critical.”  That means it could suffer a structure catastrophe.

Raptor cruisingIt will cost $100 million to demolish the structure or over the coming years $125 million to keep it from failing.  People hear that number and automatically say, “that is an awful lot of money!”  If you put it in perspective number really is not that great.  An F-22 Raptor costs $150 million each.  ;-)

i was in favor of demolition for a long time.  But, I made a 180 degree turn when, a couple of days ago, I stumble upon a Ran Webber presentation from 4 years ago.  He has an idea that provides an adaptive reuse of the Skyway at a public-private cost of $285 million, two F-22 Raptor’s.  It is daring.  It is creative.  It is entirely unique.  It is an opportunity for the community to really make a statement.  Unfortunately, it looks like there is very little political or community interest.

Skyway AdaptionMy site is so small it won’t reach many, but, like the lottery, you never know.  I think his ideas needs a good hard look-see.  Click the link to view Mr. Webber’s 16 minute presentation.