October 26, 1825: Begun in 1817, the Erie Canal – linking Lake Erie on the west to the Hudson River on the east – is completed. The canal was dug from Albany to Buffalo, 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide. Local laborers and Irish immigrants were primarily employed to build the canal, paid 80 cents per day for 10-12 hours of work; estimates are that over 1,000 workers died during the construction.
I've got a mule, her name is Sal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal

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Comment by Sarah Nagle on November 29, 2013 at 6:18pm

Hard to comprehend today --when most Americans live to the west of Lake Erie-- but in the 1820s this was an engineering marvel built by brute labor. And a significant step in the Western expansion of America. 

(Great picture too...)

Comment by joel humphrey on November 3, 2015 at 4:14pm

Until the 1850's most of the laborers came from the northeast areas.

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