Skeptics dubbed the project "Clinton's Folly" and "Clinton's Ditch" when construction of the Erie Canal began near Rome on July 4, 1817, deriding both the project and its principal promoter. Things were very different by October 24, 1825 when Governor DeWitt Clinton declared the Erie Canal complete and began a grand waterborne procession from Buffalo to New York City. The Erie Canal prompted settlement, commercial agriculture, and manufacturing across upstate New Yok and also opened vast areas in the middle of the American continent to similar developments. As the principal channel for the products of New York and Midwestern farms, forests, and mines, the canal confirmed New York City's place as America's foremost seaport and commercial center and made New York the Empire State. The Erie Canal provided the first all-water link between Atlantic Seaboard and the upper Great Lakes - 363 miles long. It climbed 570 feet between the tidal Hudson River at Albany on its way to Lake Erie in Buffalo. It passed through a series of 83 locks as shown on this 1825 map. The Erie and connecting canals were so successful that they were enlarged to accommodtae bigger boats in ever increasing numbers. The New York State Barge Canal system, constructed between 1905 and 1918, represents the last major enlargement and remains in service today.