Smugtown video study guide Study Guide Main Smugtown Video



  1. What are the differences and similarities between enslaved labor and prison labor? Who benefited from these practices?
  2. Why do you think prisoners were used to build the aqueduct? What kinds of work do prisoners today perform?
  3. What caused canal workers to form Rochester's earliest unions and to strike several times between 1837 and 1871?
  4. What part did the Genesee River play in the growth of industry in Rochester? Why did flour milling decline in Rochester? What new industries replaced flour milling?


  1. Design a venn diagram that reflects the problems of canal and transportation workers.
  2. Create a model or blueprint of a water-powered mill, an aqueduct, or a canal lock.
  3. Locate on a map as many Rochester train stations as you can identify. Which railroads did they serve? Show on a map the Genesee Valley communities served by these railroads.








mill race






Convict labor: work performed by convicted prisoners, often for private or state employers contracting with a prison system. Prisoners' low wages are a concern for unions (worried about human rights) and employers (worried about unfair competition from cheap labor).


Rochester Labor History Map/Guide, # 7, 16
Pacho Lane, Along the Erie Canal. (Video from Ethnoscope, 1998; school edition, 2001)
David Macaulay, Mill. (1983)
William Gordon, Ninety-four Years of Rochester Railways. (1975)
Ronald Shaw, Erie Water West: A History of the Erie Canal 1792-1854. (1966)