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?