Today in History: First Cargo Shipment Unloaded at Syracuse Barge Canal Terminal

Syracuse Barge Canal, 1920s

On July 12th 1921, the first full cargo shipment unloaded at Syracuse Barge Canal Terminal. Started in 1905 and completed in 1918, the Barge Canal was an improvement upon the old Erie Canal system and took advantage of existing rivers and lakes when the route was being laid out. With the new system came a harbor on Onondaga Lake that was used to move goods to and from the city such as coal, lumber, and oil. Today, the Barge Canal Terminal is known as the Inner Harbor and is the site of many forms of recreation such as walking, boating, and fishing.

As time went on, the major use of the terminal was for bulk oil shipments, which were piped directly from oil barges into the numerous oil storage tanks that dotted the landscape around the harbor, he said. Eventually, the freight house likely was used as a storehouse for canal maintenance activity.

According to a 2015 article by the Post Standard’s Rick Moriarty, “In 2000, the building was moved to the east bank as part of the city’s plan to redevelop the harbor into a residential, recreational and commercial center.” In 2015, the building was moved again, “COR Development Co., which has exclusive rights to redevelop the former Barge Canal terminal south of Onondaga Lake, said it plans to move the wooden building from the harbor’s east bank to its north bank as part of the project.”