The waterway carried people and goods from time immemorial. Explorers traveled in Native American canoes. Ship building began with the military campaigns, as army artisans built bateaux to move men and material and larger vessels for naval battles. Keels laid for the first generation of commercial vessels morphed into war ships overnight to meet the British challenge of the War of 1812. With peace came plenty of commerce and connection of the waterways by canal so that anything and everything could move from Montreal to New York City and out to Buffalo by water. Today, the output of dozens of shipyards lies serenely at the bottom of the lakes, available to divers in underwater preserves. The system of navigation aids and historic lighthouses continues to guide marine traffic.
Land and air travel also made history in the region. Local farms raised prize Morgan horses, the preferred breed for reliable travel on horseback. Lozier luxury automobiles rolled off an assembly line in Plattsburg. Railroads hauled ore and stone and connected the region to the world. Admiral Bird used Lake Champlain as his practice field for the expedition to the North Pole generations before B.F Goodrich started making aeronautic guidance components in the area.