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From 1880 to Today: Erie Canal shipyard now an I-190 on-ramp

From 1880 to Today: Erie Canal shipyard now an I-190 on-ramp

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Erie Canal at the foot of Virginia Street, 1883.

Chronicles continues a weekly look back at an illustrated map of Buffalo from 1880 and examines how the features on that map have – or haven't – changed over the years. Click here to explore the map.

Heading north from Canalside toward the Peace Bridge, the I-190 was built in the bed of the Erie Canal.

It’s difficult to imagine a ride along the Erie Canal, with some of today’s landmarks there with the old waterway. You’d be floating north past the Channel 7 studios, then Genesee Street going right up to the edge of the water, then the BlueCross BlueShield headquarters, then Court Street going right up to the edge of the water – but that’s what it would have looked like if the canal was magically put back in the spot where it once sat.

Virginia-and-the-canal

Today, the spot once occupied by the Notter building is about where the Virginia Street northbound on-ramp to the I-190 starts to curve. The canal is paved over with the Niagara Extension of the Thruway, and the strip of land with small houses to the right is now LaSalle Park.

Steve Cichon writes about Buffalo's pop culture history for BN Chronicles, has written six books, and teaches English at Bishop Timon - St. Jude High School. 

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