Oswego County Canal System and Waterways

Prior to the Oswego Canal, the Oswego River was a major route for the transportation of people and goods from the east to the Great Lakes and beyond. Once the Erie Canal was in place, people along the Oswego River wanted to ensure their river remained a vital waterway. With their advocacy efforts, the state set aside $160,000 for the Oswego Canal. Construction on the Oswego Canal began in 1826.

Visit the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY to learn more about the history of the canal system in Central New York.


The H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego houses and maintains a collection of nationally significant artifacts. Its collections are available to view at the museum and cover vessels, shipwrecks, lighthouses, and more.

To learn more, visit:  hleewhitemuseum.com

Waterway Articles

Explore the opinions and stories of people who traveled the waters in and around Oswego County.

1843 Canal Trip to Oswego

From Syracuse to Oswego – 1843

Lady of the Lake – Steamer Trip 1842

Ship Building in Oswego – 1800’s

Importance of the Oswego Canal in the Early Development of Oswego County : Article written in 1947, for the 11th Publication of the Oswego County Historical Society by Charles McCool Snyder of the Social Studies Faculty of Oswego State Teachers’ college, page 94-107.

Vintage Oswego Canal Images

Images from the collection of the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, NY

Oswego Canal 2017

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Ray Sax Canal Drawings