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tv   Erie Canal Museum  CSPAN  November 29, 2015 11:51pm-12:00am EST

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center. viewers can ask questions of historians, curators, and interpreters throughout the day. live from colonial williamsburg beginning at 11:00 a.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. c-span's touring cities across the country exploring american history. next, a look at our recent visit to syracuse, new york. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. >> the erie canal is really an artificial river that was created to attach the great lakes to the atlantic ocean. and the way that occurred was they build a canal from buffalo to albany and attach it to the hudson river and then new york city. there were settlements on the frontier.
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syracuse happened to be one of the smaller ones because this was a swampy area. one thing that the canal did is it rain -- drained the swamp and that allowed for a lot of commerce to take place here. we have buildings all the way up and down the south side of the canal that would have storefronts facing the canal and storefronts facing the land. things would be brought from the land to supply, and it was a very efficient way of carrying on business. just about everything that could be purchased at the time was purchased in syracuse and was carried here by boat from other
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parts of the world. one thing that comes to mind is hats. they could buy a hat that was me here, they could i had that was made in england. what was shipped out of here was salt. we had salt springs here. a lot of salt was shipped out of here. this building was constructed in 1850 two way the votes that were carrying cargo on the year he canal. a fee was assessed for the weight of the cargo. every vote was weighed at the beginning of the navigation season, and then was weighed each time it carried cargo through the canal. the way that the lock worked was that the boot would pull in off the canal, gates would be closed on either end of the way chamber. it takes out the full length of the building. once those gates are closed, but chamber is drained and developed settles into a cradle. the cradle, through a series of
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productions attaches to just a standard to stay -- scale and little about his way. once it is we, while the feed is being paid to the chamber's re-field -- refill three sluice gate. once it reaches parity, they can leave and they can way for both in our -- weigh four votes and our. this is where they were wait until the state cease to win votes in 1882. they had already made enough money and they did not have any need to keep collecting these tolls. was the ceased to do that, there
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-- this is where the typist would type up the report from the eight -- engineers who were working upstairs. this went on into the 1950's when the building had clearly become too small and unworkable. the state was able to build across the street a new state office building. the people who work here moved out of the building, across the street. this was mothballed and marked for demolition. some do-gooders in the community saw this building and came out and saved it. it seemed like an appropriate place at the time to build a canal museum. when they open the museum in 1962 this was the canal museum. what i have tried to do with this museum is take a look at what is it that we can do best, and still be able to collaborate with all these other sites? we do not have any water near
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us. we are the only maritime museum with no water near it. what we do best as we interpret the building, this weigh loch and life interviews. we get a good introduction to the history of the canal, and we tell people where to go to find other things they can extend their learning about the canal. one of the things that occurred through the transition is now to a more recreational operation and also through the cleaning of the water, very important, is that communities began turning back to the canal where they had their backs to it before. it was a dirty, smelly, industrial site. in the 1970's and 1980's they began to turn back and you would see restaurants popping up and little sidewalk cafés.
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it became far more interesting to look at the canal. a number of new museums opened up a long the way. the canal has always been reinventing itself. it started off boats with passengers on them. those votes begin to be replaced by those carrying a great deal of cargo, or a line boat that carried passengers and cargo. as the railroads were consolidated parallel to the canal, they began to take some of his way only you to do. -- finding new ways to do. we see shipments of oil and large vehicles, other things like that. what really took down the shipping on the reverse funeral
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-- it allowed for oceangoing vessels to come into the great lakes. that point, the erie canal became a recreational place, which it is today. it is a huge tourist attraction. the hearing canal -- erie canal is the thing that made it possible for this country to become rich. it is a living history museum in itself. the impact of this thing, this is the pivotal moment in american history. this is what made america, america. >> find out where the c-span
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city's tourist going next, online at www.c-span.org/ citiestour. you are watching american history tv. >> at 8:00 p.m. eastern on sunday night throughout the rest of this year, c-span produced a series in cooperation with the white house historical association. the questions from the c-span audience, we tell the story of america's 45 first ladies. now, hillary clinton. this is about 90 minutes. ♪ >> hello, this is hillary clinton. i want to thank you for letting me speak with you about an issue that is central to our children's future

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