A Beautiful region of America
Tranquility along the Erie Canal.
A map of Buffalo's Historic Canal System.
The largest canal was the Main and Hamburg, being about a mile long. It went from Hamburg street in a westerly direction to Main street, where it joined the Erie canal. In the other direction it extended to the Hydraulic canal. It was about one hundred feet wide and seven feet deep.
The Clark and Skinner canal, about a third of a mile long, connected the Main and Hamburg with Buffalo Creek. Further down, the Ohio slip joined the Main and Hamburg with the spacious Ohio basin. The Ohio slip was about one half mile and the basin about one fifth of a mile long. It was connected with Buffalo Creek by a short outlet. The slip was completed in 1850, and the basin in 1851.
For years this system of canals within the city served the area well but over time some of them became a source of unsolvable problems to residents in their neighborhoods. The Main and Hamburg, the most important of the street canals, became the most troublesome because it lacked a current that would move the waste away. Costly attempts were made to create a current, and thousands of dollars were spent by the city, but none were successful.
As a final solution, sewers were built within the Main and Hamburg and the Clark and Skinner canal beds with an outlet at the Buffalo River and they were covered over. Other abandoned canals no longer of any use for navigation were also filled in. On the other side of the river, the City Ship Canal is still in operation today.
At the present time the old system of canals, slips and basins in the First Ward area have all been filled in and bridges that crossed them dismantled. The only exception is the outlet that connected the Ohio Basin with the Buffalo River. This original Ohio Basin canal outlet can still be seen, across from Father Conway Park (Ohio Basin) on Ohio Street. Neglected, ignored and filled with debris, it is the only remaining evidence of the extreme western terminus of New York State's Erie Canal Sytem.
I think at the very least, this venerable site needs to be cleaned of debris and deserves a plaque commemorating it as the last remaining feature of Buffalo's own historic canal system that had a major commercial presence in the city during the ninteenth century.
© 2007 Donald L. Hamilton firstname.lastname@example.org
(Map URLs courtesy of - BuffaloResearch.com)
This is a photo of the present condition of the Ohio basin outlet into the Buffalo River. This outlet was the furthest westward extention of the Erie Canal System and was part of Buffalo's own "Historic Canal System". It now lies neglected and forgotten along the Buffalo River.
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