The Erie Canal opened on Wednesday, October 26, 1825, in Buffalo, New York. That morning, Governor of New York, DeWitt Clinton stood aboard his packet boat named Seneca Chief and sailed down the new waterway. Some of the people in town called the Canal the "artificial river" and thought it didn't look like much of a river, since it was only forty feet wide and four feet deep. Followed by a parade of other boats, the group headed to New York Harbor.
The Erie Canal was an important milestone, linking the cities of western New York with eastern cities. Before he left Buffalo, Governor Clinton filled a barrel with water from Lake Erie, the waterway at the western end of the canal, to be poured the water into the Atlantic Ocean when in New York City, and symbolize the new connection between distant places.