The NYS Canal System was recently designated a National Historic Landmark, placing New York’s operating canals among the premier historic sites in the United States. Congressman John Katko, representatives of the National Park Service, NYS Canal Corporation, and NYS Historic Preservation Office, and nearly 100 people gathered in Syracuse in January at an event hosted by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor to celebrate.

The NHL designation includes the Erie, Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals. Direct successors of canals built during the 1820s, these waterways were enlarged to their current dimensions between 1905 and 1918. They remain in service today passing commercial and pleasure vessels between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

Less than 3% of the thousands of places currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places are designated National Historic Landmarks. The designation specifically recognizes the canal for its role in shaping the American economy and settlement, as an embodiment of the Progressive Era emphasis on public works, and as a nationally significant work of early 20th century engineering and construction. Its 450 miles of navigation channels, locks, lift bridges, dams, power houses, and maintenance shops together represent a significant, distinctive, and exceptional entity.

Erie Canalway NHC spearheaded the nomination; more information and NHL documents are available at

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