Chenango Canal: The Million Dollar Ditch chronicles the story of a central New York State canal and how it changed the region. In 1825, the Omnibus Canal Bill had called for a survey of a canal linking the Susquehanna River at Binghamton to the Erie Canal in Utica. The idea of a canal was well received in the Chenango Valley but was opposed by many outside it. After eight years of legislative battles, the canal was finally authorized in 1833 with a proposed million-dollar budget. Against seeming insurmountable odds, the 97-mile canal was completed in 1836. Touted as “the best built canal in New York State,” the canal was never profitable for the state, but it did bring a measure of prosperity to the communities along its length, delivering cheap coal from Pennsylvania to emerging steam-powered factories.
Wade Allen Lallier, a resident of Deansboro, holds a bachelor’s degree in social studies form Syracuse University. He is a member of the Chenango Canal Association, which is dedicated to preserving the Chenango Canal and it’s history. For Chenango Canal: The Million Dollar Ditch, he selected photographs from private collections, library special collections, and local and county historical societies.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.