Throughout the Rochester, New York area you will see fiberglass statues of horses. Here in Fairport, in front of the Village Hall, is "Sal." The beautiful statue has the appearance of marble, and on the saddle area of the horse are carved murals representing the village.
There are more than 150 such horse statues scattered around greater Rochester. You can learn more about the horses, and their creators, by clicking the link below.
Although present day Fairport is, to a large extent, a bedroom community of metropolitan Rochester, buildings such as this one, on the canal at Main Street, are a reminder that Fairport was once a hard working industrial town along the Erie Canal.
This is the site of the Saleratus Works, established by the DeLand family in 1858. Saleratus (now called baking soda) was produced here and sold internationally, helping develop the Village of Fairport. Today the building is put to other uses, including an Expresso Cafe.
The Erie Canal, proposed in 1808 and completed in 1825, links the waters of Lake Erie in the west to the Hudson River in the east. When built it was the engineering marvel of its day and some called it the Eighth Wonder of the World.
The original canal included 18 aqueducts to carry the canal over ravines and rivers, and 83 locks, with a rise of 568 feet from the Hudson River to Lake Erie. It was 4 feet deep and 40 feet wide, and floated boats carrying 30 tons of freight. A ten foot wide towpath was built along the bank of the canal for horses, mules, and oxen led by a boy boat driver or "hoggee". As traffic on the canal increased, it was enlarged. With the coming of the railroads, it became obsolete.
The area of the Erie Canal which runs through Fairport is very well preserved and is popular with recreational boaters. The Canal is still the focal point of the community, much as it was in Fairport's earliest days, although highways, cars and trucks have replaced the canal boats.
History of the Erie Canal