A brief history of the Erie Canal aqueduct. Before the Erie Canal was diverted to its current course through Genesee Valley Park, it flowed right through the city using the aqueduct to cross the Genesee River. In 1918, the canal was re-routed and the city began to use the vacated basin for public rail transportation, with passenger service ending in 1956, and freight traffic ending in 1970. Broad Street runs atop the abandoned underground today.
Ever since, there has been lively debate over what to do with the decaying infrastructure. The phase one plan involves preventative maintenance. While the politicians and planners figure out what’s next, we get to enjoy a living piece of history that played an integral part in shaping who we are today. Johnson-Seymour Race still runs under the Rundel Library Building.
Sneak a peek
For a sneak peek, walk down the stairs next to Blue Cross Arena on Broad Street. You can view the aqueduct from a platform along the Genesee Riverview Trail.
You used to be able to walk inside
On a sad note, the main entrance has been closed down as a part of the city’s revitalization efforts along the river. This view is no more:
Re-live Rochester’s Rich Transportation History
There are several excellent places around Rochester where you can interact with historic machines and listen to the stories of Rochester’s beginnings:
The New York Museum of Transportation is open on Sundays from 11am-5pm all year long, with special events and trolley rides during the non-winter months. Their impressive collection and engaging events are managed by dedicated volunteers who are excited to share stories of Rochester’s rich transportation history.
Volunteers at the Rochester Genesee Valley Railroad Museum actively acquire, restore and preserve New York’s largest collection of historic railroad equipment. Spend a day riding the train and checking out their Rochester-centric collection!
Sam Patch Erie Canal Tours are a great way to experience the canal, the locks, and learn about its history along your narrated cruise.
Other transportation & innovation museums around Rochester
- Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park
- Herschell Carrousel Factory
- Salamanca Rail Museum
- Buffalo Transportation Piece Arrow Museum
- Edgerton Model Railroad Room
- Arcade & Attica Railroad
- Medina Railroad Museum
- Niagara Aerospace Museum
- Rochester Auto Museum
- National Warplane Museum
- Antique Wireless Museum
- Niagara Power Vista
- Glenn Curtiss Museum
- National Soaring Museum
- Erie Canal Museum
- Spencerport Depot & Canal Museum
- Erie Canal Discovery Center
- Oswego Railroad Museum