Lake Erie is the second eastern most lake of the five great lakes and it is the lake that opened westward expansion. While Lake Ontario is now very important in trade with the western states, it was not until the Erie Canal was opened in 1825 when there was dramatic increase in trade.
The Erie Canal allowed the shipment of goods from the Hudson River directly to Lake Erie for a very low price. This solidified Lake Erie as a commercial waterway and helped found many of the great cities along its shores. The original Erie Canal port was Buffalo, but the modern canal terminates just north of Buffalo.