Wooden Box Top

The top of this wooden box shows that a box was shipped to Hugh McBride via the Genesee Valley Canal to what is now known as Piffard (originally named Piffardinia and misspelled here as Piffardina). The Genesee Valley Canal was open from 1840-1878 and eventually connected the Erie Canal at Rochester to the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania.  Although it never proved to be a profitable venture, the canal was important in carrying agricultural goods and raw materials out of the area and in bringing manufactured goods and new settlers into the Valley.

The top of this wooden box shows that a box was shipped to Hugh McBride via the Genesee Valley Canal to what is now known as Piffard (originally named Piffardinia and misspelled here as Piffardina). The Genesee Valley Canal was open from 1840-1878 and eventually connected the Erie Canal at Rochester to the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania.  Although it never proved to be a profitable venture, the canal was important in carrying agricultural goods and raw materials out of the area and in bringing manufactured goods and new settlers into the Valley.


The story of the Genesee Valley Canal reflects the rapid changes in technology that occurred during the 19th century.  Almost as soon as it opened, the canal was obsolete in the face of expanding railroad networks.  The emergence of new technology, however, often comes with tradeoffs.  Railroads quickly replaced New York’s canals as the main choice for transporting freight, and the Genesee Valley Canal closed in 1878.  Railroads were faster and more efficient than the canals, but also required more energy and generated more pollution.  Today the Genesee Valley Greenway recreational trail follows much of the original route of the canal.  Artifacts, such as locks, dams, and canal houses, can still be seen in our local towns and villages.