Early Canastota Collection

Collection Owner:
Cover Image:
Early Canastota Collection
Old boat factory on the bank of Erie Canal - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
c. 1860 - 1910

Historical Context

The Village of Canastota is located in Madison County, New York. It was originally inhabited by the Oneida Nation and later settled by Europeans. Captain Reuben Perkins was the original founder in 1810, and the village was formally established in 1835. A portion of the Erie Canal ran through Canastota and had a major impact on the village's development. The Erie Canal, part of the New York State Canal System, officially opened in 1825. It connected all areas of New York State, including New York City to areas in Upstate New York and to the Atlantic Ocean. It was a major source of travel and trade in the nineteenth century. Because of its location on the Erie Canal, Canastota became a prosperous area for trading, commerce and agriculture during the mid-nineteenth century. The canal also offered opportunities for recreation, especially during the cold New York winters. Tragically, the early records of the village were destroyed in the great Canastota fire in 1873.

Scope of Collection

The Early Canastota Collection documents the importance of the canal on the village's social and economic landscape. The bulk of the collection consists of newspaper clippings of historical photographs. Several reprinted photographs depict the widening and eventual filling in of the canal. Other photographs illustrate the canal's use in various seasons, from the businesses that depended on the canal to the passenger boats and ice skaters who used it for recreation. Additional materials include newspaper reprints of local activities, a 1934 manuscript describing the village in 1860, and obituaries of prominent citizens. Together, these materials illuminate the impact of the Erie Canal on the small rural communities along its route.