Audio Tour

The Wharf

00:00 / 02:11

Presented by

Bob Corby

Mayor, Village of Pittsford

The Wharf drove the economy of the village from 1824 when the canal was opened until early in the 20th century. The canal went through three stages. Originally, when it was built, it was forty feet wide and four feet deep. And then it was widened in the 1860s to sixty feet wide and six feet deep. And finally in 1911 and 1912, it was doubled in width again to 120 feet wide and twelve feet deep, which is the dimension it is today. 

In the Village of Pittsford, there's a little embayment. So this section of the canal is close to 210 feet wide, which is wider than most of the other canal ports in the villages.

As the canal was altered slightly and widened, the port area of the Village moved. Originally, it was along the east side of South Street. Then after the 1860s, businesses migrated to North Main Street on the south bank of the canal and then finally in 1911 - 1912, New York State paid to build a commercial-scale wharf at the scale that was appropriate a hundred years ago. The southern shore of the canal was moved south with the thought that this would foster a budding industrial commercial area around the wharf. It's ironic because in Pittsford, the businesses on the southern shore were destroyed and everything moved to the north side to Schoen Place.

Today the Wharf in the village of Pittsford is currently part of the Port of Pittsford Park.

Because it's been over a hundred years since many of the warehouses in Erie Canal villages were in active use, most other villages have lost most of their historic warehouses, mills, and other commercial businesses that were associated with the canal.

The Village of Pittsford has the best preserved, intact, authentic Erie Canal warehouse-mill district remaining in New York State.  The area has been revitalized, the buildings refurbished, and it is now one of the most popular destinations in our region.