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Lecture: "Boom & Bust"
"Boom and Bust: America's Journey on the Erie Canal"
NOTE THE DATE CHANGE: Saturday, August 10, 2019 | 2:00 PM | Wooden Boat School Classroom
$5/person | HRMM members FREE
The economies of the original 13 colonies were able to flourish largely due to their isolation from the interior of the North American continent. They were protected from potential competition by a formidable mountain chain running from Georgia well into Canada. Two breaks in these mountains – one at the Hudson River and the other further west in the Mohawk Valley – inspired dreaming, debate and planning that eventually led to the construction of an artificial extension of the mighty Hudson to the Great Lakes. Completed in 1825 after eight years of unimaginable effort, the 363-mile long Erie Canal linked the great inland lakes of America through the Hudson River and the port of New York to the rest of the world. This single engineering project – more than any other variable – contributed to the transformation of the United States of America from a group of former colonies populated by yeoman farmers to the leading engine of a global economy.
For this program, visitors will view several short oral histories and a half-hour documentary film that the speaker co-produced and, in 2017, toured with a troupe of canal musicians and storytellers to restored vaudeville houses and ballrooms in ports along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Boom and Bust: America’s Journey on the Erie Canal examines the volatile economic cycles experienced by the communities along the Erie Canal from when they first entered the global economy to the present day.
Daniel Franklin Ward, PhD, is a folklorist, curator, and an authority on the maritime culture of New York State’s inland waterways. He is a member of the board of the Canal Society of New York State and he has worked in various capacities for most of the interpretive centers along the Erie Canal. He currently serves as Coordinator of Education for the Old Erie Canal Heritage Park at Port Byron and Educator at Camillus Erie Canal Park. Dr. Ward is co-curator of Two Hundred Years on The Erie Canal, an online exhibition and a travelling exhibit that is currently touring the libraries of New York State. His recent work has concentrated on folklife and New York Harbor’s working waterfront.
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