Before the canal opened in Baldwinsville and Brockport, it cost $100 and took an average of three months to ship a ton of wheat from Buffalo to New York City. Once the Erie Canal opened, the price lowered to around $8 and the new travel time took about two weeks, creating an economically viable shipping process.
Many historians argue that if the canal wasn't built, settlement past the Appalachian Mountains would never have been feasible, and it would cease to be part of the Union. The Erie Canal also helped to ensure that Northerners would settle the Midwest, as many New Yorkers traveled via the canal and then westward. Balwinsville and Brockport were often some of their last stops before they set out westward.
Southern leaders also attempted to build a canal from Virginia to Ohio during the mid-1800s. They realized that the North far exceeded them in industry and canals were rapidly becoming the favored shipping method. Unfortunately, the Confederacy's plan to build a canal was obstructed by mountains. This had major implications for the Civil War, as the balance of Northerners to Southerners in the Midwest dominated slave politics, building tension and eventually exacerbating resentment between Northerners and Southerners.
Come see The Albany Symphony perform in Baldwinsville on July 6 and Brockport on July 7. The Baldwinsville concert will take place at the Paper Mill Island Amphitheater, featuring resident composer Ryan Chase's The Current Home, presented by the Syracuse Pops Chorus. The Brockport concert will include Canal Tales, a world premiere by resident composer Loren Loiacono, performed in collaboration with Mariah Maloney Dance.