Vision, leadership, perseverance and sweat equity not only built the Erie Canal—those qualities continue to drive successful heritage development today. Learn about award-winning approaches and find ideas and inspiration from these Erie Canalway Hertiage Award recipients.
What was once an overgrown canalside lot, now showcases the only remaining boatyard on the canal, as well as a restored canal-side store, full-sized canal boat exhibit, and visitor education center.
Old Erie Canal Towpath at Butternut Drive, DeWitt (2015)
The Town of DeWitt has maintained a one-mile stretch of the Old Erie Canal State Park near Butternut Drive since 2012 and has made steady progress in enhancing the entrance to this important gateway to the Canalway Trail.
Bushnell's Basin Boat Dock & Canal Amenity Center, Bushnell's Basin (2013)
Bushnell's Basin has become a vibrant destination for Erie Canal travelers, thanks to outstanding planning and project implementation by the Town of Perinton, working in partnership with business owners and residents.
Trail of Hope, Lyons (2013)
The transformation of a forlorn parcel of land behind the community center in the Village of Lyons into attractive gardens and a fully accessible trail is touching the lives of the volunteers who create and maintain it and those who visit this "miracle garden" near the Erie Canal.
Verona Beach Lighthouse, Town of Verona (2011)
Thanks to a ten year effort by the Verona Beach Lighthouse Association, the Verona Beach Lighthouse, once forlorn and forgotten, again serves as a beacon on the shores of Oneida Lake. This historic preservation effort serves as a model for citizen action and community outreach.
Delta Sonic Heritage Farm at the Buffalo Zoo, Buffalo (2011)
The third oldest zoo in the country tapped into Buffalo’s canal history as the focus of its new children’s exhibit: the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm. Opened in 2010, the family-friendly exhibit depicts life on a small family farm located on the banks of the Erie Canal in the mid-1800s.
Historical Murals of Lyons, Lyons (2010)
Historical scenes depicting life on the Erie Canal can be found on more than 25 buildings along the Erie Canal, thanks to a grassroots mural project begun in Lyons, New York. The epicenter of “Mural Mania” boasts eight murals, located within an easy walk of the canal and the Village of Lyon’s Main Street.
Mohawk Towpath Byway, Waterford and Cohoes to Schenectady (2010)
Successful collaboration among eight municipalities is helping to preserve and showcase significant scenic, recreational, and historic resources along the Mohawk Towpath Byway. The Byway is a network of local, county, state, and federal highways that follow the historic route of the Erie Canal from Waterford and Cohoes to Schenectady.
Erie Canal Discovery Center and Lockport Visitor's Center, Lockport (2009)
Opened in 2005, the Erie Canal Discovery Center and Lockport Visitor’s Center serve as a critical starting place for visitors to Lockport, whose historic Flight of Five locks remain “the holy grail” of early canal engineering.
Spencerport Depot and Canal Museum, Spencerport (2009)
Opened in 2006, this successful adaptive reuse of a former trolley depot now serves as a visitor center and canal museum on the Erie Canal. Volunteers logged more than 80,000 hours to bring the project to fruition, resulting in renewed community pride and a center for both residents and visitors to gather and celebrate Spencerport’s canal heritage.
Fort Plain Free Library, Fort Plain (2008)
Renovation and restoration at the Fort Plain Free Library are enabling a house erected in the early 1800s to meet the needs of 21st century library users, while preserving the historical nature of the original structure.
Historic Palmyra's Wm. Phelps General Store and Home, Palmrya (2008)
Through many years of effort by Historic Palmyra and hundreds of volunteers, Erie Canal-era Wm. Phelps General Store and home and Palmyra Print Shop have been transformed into a centerpiece of 150 years of Erie Canal life in Palmyra.