Erie Canal - the first boat trip - from Rome to Utica
(23 Oct 1819)

The first boat, Chief Engineer of Rome, passed through the Erie canal on a trial trip and excursion from Utica to Rome and returned the next day. The partyof about seventy person on board included Governor DeWitt Clinton and state officials.

“The last two days have presented, in this village, a scene of the liveliest interest; and I consider it among the privileges of my life to have been present to witness it. On Friday afternoon I walked to the head of the grand canal, the eastern extremity of which reaches within a very short distance of the village, and from one of the slight and airy bridges which crossed it, I had a sight that could not but exhilarate and elevate the mind. The waters were rushing in from the westward and coming down their untried channel towards the sea. . . . The interest manifested by the whole country, as this new internal river rolled its first waves through the state, cannot be described. You might see the people running across the fields, climbing on trees and fences, and crowding the bank of the canal to gaze upon the welcome sight. A boat had been prepared at Rome, and as the waters came down the canal, you might mark their progress by that of this new Argo, which floated triumphantly along the Hellespont of the west, accompanied by the shouts of the peasantry, and having on her deck a military band. At nine the next morning, the bells began a merry peal, and the commissioners, in carriages, proceeded from Bagg’s hotel to the place of embarkation. ”
-- excerpt from letter published in
Albany Daily Advertiser