Creating a visual history

Welcome to 40x4x28, a visual exploration of the most consequential public infrastructure project in American history. The Erie Canal, originally completed nearly 200 years ago, forever altered the face and character of this country. I’m hoping to capture glimpses of its history by making digital landscapes of places along its path at specific moments in time. This site will document my research and the work in progress.

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Locks and keys

The early proponents of the Erie Canal were a remarkable group. Jesse Hawley, Elkanah Watson, and Gouverneur Morris showed great imagination — and risked being labeled as madmen — when in the early 19th century they individually proposed constructing an artificial river from the Hudson to the Great Lakes. Hawley — a grain merchant with …