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Special Event
Book Talk: Heaven's Ditch
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 6:30PM

South Street Seaport Museum
Melville Gallery
213 Water Street
New York, NY 10038

Registration Required | Limited Availability

Book Talk: Heaven’s Ditch

Please join the Seaport Museum as Jack Kelly discusses his new book Heaven’s Ditch: God, Gold, and Murder on the Erie Canal.

Heaven’s Ditch is an illuminating new history of the Erie Canal that focuses on the religious and political upheavals that erupted along the canal’s path.

The technological marvel of its age, the canal was designed by amateur engineers and built by sheer muscle. It became the scene of one of the most striking outbursts of imagination in American history. In the canal’s wake, spurred by the fertile interactions of travelers and new settlers, zealots invented new religions and new modes of living. The Erie Canal made New York the commercial capital of America and brought the modern world crashing into the frontier. Readers encounter America's very first “crime of the century,” wild treasure hunts, searing acts of violence, a visionary cross-dresser, and a panoply of fanatics, mystics, and hoaxers. The publication of Heaven’s Ditch kicks off the bicentennial of America’s most influential public works project.

About the Author:

Jack Kelly is a journalist, novelist, and historian. He received the DAR's History Award Medal for his book Band of Giants. He has contributed to national periodicals including American Heritage Magazine and is a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow. He has appeared on The History Channel and C-SPAN and been interviewed on National Public Radio. He grew in the Erie Canal region and now lives in New York's Hudson Valley. Find out more at

Please got to the Melville Gallery at 213 Water Street. Books on sale at the event. Doors open at 6:15 PM. Reception and book signing to follow the book talk.