By the close of the American Revolutionary War, the abundant waterways flowing through the region powered mills of every description, soon followed by many more, bigger, and more-productive mills. Natural mineral deposits and geological formations made quarrying a productive and useful venture. The dense old growth forests of the Adirondacks seemed an unlimited source of wood for an unlimited range of uses.
All this production however, far exceeded local needs. Finding a cost-effective route to markets beyond the region was a paramount objective. Many merchants, farmers and legislators believed that a canal would help local industry and agriculture prosper. Two men in particular helped make the New York canals a reality: Elkanah Watson and Philip Schuyler. On separate trips to England, both men were inspired by the extensive English canal system, and by how quickly agricultural and industrial goods could be moved from the countryside to markets.