In 1820, the Middle Section of the Erie Canal opened for navigation between Montezuma and Utica, connecting the Seneca River to the Mohawk. This momentous event transformed the State of New York, marking the first tangible results of the massive infrastructure project it had begun undertaking three years earlier in 1817. This was especially true for the 96 miles this stretch of canal passed through, including the swampy crossroads community of Syracuse, now home of the Erie Canal Museum. This talk will examine the efforts to reach this point in the canal's story, the transforming effects it began to have, and what work was still left.
Derrick Pratt is the Museum Educator at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY. A native of Chittenango, NY, Derrick received a B.A in Social Studies Education from SUNY Cortland and a M.A. in Museum Studies from Syracuse University. Prior to his job at the Erie Canal Museum, Derrick served as Director of Programs at Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum for 3 years.