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Interpreting the Evidence

Map of the Niagara River and the Welland Canal, c. 1900

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    Western New York
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Map of the Niagara River and the Welland Canal, c. 1900 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
A map of the Niagara River and Welland Canal, circa 1900.
Historical Context
The Niagara River was formed some 12,000 years ago from water melting off glaciers. The river flows thirty-four miles from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario.  Along those thirty-four miles, the river makes a sudden large drop in elevation, called Niagara Falls.  Downriver from the falls, the river makes a 90º turn that is known as the Whirlpool.
Essential Question
How does geography impact culture and economic systems?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the information contained in the map and explain the influence of this water source on New York's culture and economy.