The completion of the Champlain Canal in 1823 transformed Whitehall from a minor port at the head of Lake Champlain into a bustling transshipment point for goods destined for Troy, Albany, New York City, Buffalo and the West. Lumberyards, icehouses and shipyards soon stretched along the waterfront from the lock to "Fiddler's Elbow," a tight turn in Wood Creek half a mile from the village. Hotels, taverns and shops served the parade of travelers. Stables and mule barns provided winter quarters for hundreds of animals. Canal families came to call Whitehall home and their boats filled up the harbor when ice brought navigation to a stop.Cargo sloops and schooners packed the wharves waiting to transfer their loads of lumber, iron ore and marble to canal boats small enough to fit through the locks. Soon ingenious shipbuilders designed a sailing canal boat that could rise its centerboard, lower its masts, hitch a towline to a mule and move directly into the canal. Owners of sailing canal boats saved 4-5 days of waiting at the wharves on each trip.Passengers traveled by packet boat, towed up the lake by steamboats, then pulled by relays of fast horses through the canal. Immigrants heading west could expect to reach Buffalo in 7-9 days.To learn more about the canal and Whitehall history, follow the towpath to the right, past the stone walls of the original canal, to the Whitehall Urban Cultural Park Visitors Center.