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October 26th in NYC History

Posted: Oct 25, 2012 | 11:37 PM
Draft of October 26th in NYC History

1656...A new law in New Amsterdam forbids any work or
amusement – including drinking, dancing and bowling – on Sunday. On the
same day, Governor Peter Stuyvesant orders the first price-fixing law,
setting the price of white bread at about 8 cents a loaf.

1825The Erie Canal opened, connecting Lake Erie and the Hudson River in upstate New York.   New York becomes the nation's major port when the Erie Canal opens, linking the city with the Great Lakes and the Midwest, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River. Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, the driving force behind the project, led the opening ceremonies and rode the canal boat Seneca Chief from Buffalo to New York City.

New York legislators became interested in the possibility of building
a canal across New York in the first decade of the 19th century.
Shipping goods west from Albany was a costly and tedious affair; there
was no railroad yet, and to cover the distance from Buffalo to New York
City by stagecoach took two weeks. Governor Clinton enthusiastically
took up the proposal to build a canal from Buffalo, on the eastern point
of Lake Erie, to Albany, on the upper Hudson, passing through the gap
in the mountains in the Mohawk Valley region. By 1817, he had convinced
the legislature to authorize the expenditure of $7 million for the
construction of a canal that he proposed would be 363 miles long, 40
feet wide, and four feet deep.

Work began on "Clinton's Ditch" in August 1823. Teams of oxen plowed
the ground, but for the most part the work was done by Irish diggers who
had to rely on primitive tools. They were paid $10 a month, and barrels
of whisky were placed along the canal route as encouragement. West of
Troy, 83 canal locks were built to accommodate the 500-foot rise in
elevation. After more than two years of digging, the 425-mile Erie Canal
was opened on October 26, 1825, by Governor Clinton.

As Clinton left Buffalo in the Seneca Chief, an ingenious
method of communication was used to inform New York City of the historic
occasion. Cannons were arranged along the length of the canal and the
river, each within hearing distance of the next cannon. As the governor
began his trip, the first cannon was fired, signaling the next to fire.
Within 81 minutes, the word was relayed to New York—it was the fastest
communication the world had ever known. After arriving in New York on
September 4, Clinton ceremoniously emptied a barrel of Lake Erie water
in the Atlantic Ocean, consummating the "Marriage of the Waters" of the
Great Lakes and the Atlantic.

The effect of the canal was immediate and dramatic. Settlers poured into western New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Goods were transported at one-tenth the previous fee in less than half
the previous time. Barge loads of farm produce and raw materials
traveled east as manufactured goods and supplies flowed west. In nine
years, tolls had paid back the cost of construction. Later enlarged and
deepened, the canal survived competition from the railroads in the
latter part of the 19th century. Today, the Erie Canal is used mostly by
pleasure boaters, but it is still capable of accommodating heavy

363 mile long  4 feet deep  only profitable canal  50 years later railroads dominate  still operates

1858 Theodore Roosevelt Born.

1900, writer Henry James first writes to Edith Wharton, whom he will
finally meet in 1903. Wharton, then 38, had published her first
collection of stories, The Greater Inclination, the previous
year. An enormous admirer of James, she modeled parts of her work after
his, including his attention to form and his interest in ethical
questions. The two became great friends, and James encouraged her
writing.Wharton was born to a wealthy, patrician family in New York in 1862. She grew up in an opulent world where pre-Civil War
society kept the nouveau riche at bay, maintaining its own isolated
sense of superiority. Wharton, expected to become a typical wife,
mother, and hostess, instead showed intellectual talent and began to
write at an early age. She had begun to fear spinsterhood when, at age
23, she married prominent socialite Edward Wharton--who had no
profession or money worth speaking of. The match was unhappy and
troubled, but the couple did not divorce until 1913. Wharton returned to
writing, often dealing with themes of divorce, unhappy marriages, and
free-spirited individuals trapped by societal pressures.Wharton's 1905 novel, The House of Mirth,
told the story of a New York socialite with a strong sense of
individuality who cannot adapt to the roles expected of her. The book
became a bestseller.Wharton traveled abroad frequently and after her divorce began writing for women's magazines. Her novella, Ethan Frome,
detailing a New England farmer trapped by the demands of the women in
his life, is still one of her best-known works. Her 1920 novel, Age of Innocence,
won the Pulitzer. Wharton published numerous other books, but some of
her later work suffered from the deadlines and pressures imposed by
writing for money. She remained in France during World War I, assisting refugees, and was made a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor in 1916. She published another bestseller, Twilight Sleep, in 1927, and her autobiography, A Backward Glance, in 1934. She died in France in 1937.

1911  One of the longest World  Series in history ends after 13 days, including 4 rain delays and Sunday Blue Laws.  The Philadelphia Athletics beat the Giants 13-2 in Philly, closing the series at 4-2.

1930  Harry Payne Whitney, Polo great, died in NYC at 58.

1947 Hillary Rodham Clinton's Birthday.

1950:  Dodgers owners, including Walter O'Malley, buy out Branch Rickey (who signed Jackie Robinson) for over $1 million for his 25% stake.  O'Malley assumes control and Rickey is out (to Pittsburgh).

1962   In one of the most dramatic verbal confrontations of the Cold War, American U.N.
Ambassador Adlai Stevenson asked his Soviet counterpart during a
Security Council debate whether the USSR had placed missiles in Cuba

1971 Birthday Anthony Rapp, Actor ("Rent")

1996...With a fly-out to Charlie Hayes, the Yankees win
the World Series, beating the Atlanta Braves in Game 6  at Yankee
Stadium. It's the team's first world championship in 18 years, and the
first of what will become four titles over the next five seasons.

3-2 score.  4-2 series.  Yanks first team in baseball history to come back after losing the first 2 games at home.


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