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Erie Canal commemorative plate

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Erie Canal commemorative plate
Smithsonian Institution, Photo by Richard Strauss, Negative #: 2003-19232


This object appears in the following sections:

Transportation in America before 1876:
Transportation in America before 1876 — Connecting the Growing Nation

"Entrance of the Erie Canal into the Hudson" commemorative plate
Catalog #: 62.877A, Accession #: 171126
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
The design of this plate was based on a watercolor by James Eights, which was engraved by Rawdon, Clark & Co. and published in Memoir Prepared at the Request of the Committee of the Common Council of the City of New York by Cadwallader D. Colden. The memoir contained speeches and descriptions of the festivities surrounding the opening of the Erie Canal.
Physical Description

Dimensions: 9.5" diameter, 1" depth

Materials: white glazed earthenware

Blue transfer decorated plate featuring scenes of the Erie Canal with large flowers in wreath borders.

Date Made:
about 1825
New York
Gift of Ellouise Baker Larsen

When workers began digging the Erie, the longest existing canal in the U.S. measured 28 miles long. In contrast, the Erie Canal was planned to extend over 300 miles, connecting the Hudson River with Lake Erie, the East Coast with the frontier. The canal was funded by the state of New York. Even before it officially opened in 1825, it began to generate income. The Erie Canal gave 19th-century New York an edge over other commercial port cities on the Atlantic coast. The Erie canal's success encouraged canal building elsewhere, and by 1840, the United States had 3,326 miles of canals.

When the Erie Canal reached Lake Erie in 1825, a relay of cannons boomed out the news along the canal's length east towards New York City. The Seneca Chief traveled the length of the canal, and when it arrived days later, New Yorkers marked the historic 'wedding of the waters,' by pouring kegged water from Lake Erie into the Atlantic ocean.
Related People, Places, and Events
Enoch Wood and Sons

Ellouise Baker Larsen

Place of Manufacture

Place Pictured
Erie Canal and the Hudson River

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