The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, played an important role during the Palmyra period of church history. The announcement that Palmyra, N.Y., would be a stop on the canal was a designation that gave the town a bright future. It likely gave Egbert B. Grandin the confidence to invest in a business that eventually published the first edition of the Book of Mormon. Were it not for that, Joseph Smith may have had to go to the East Coast to find someone who could handle such a large job.

There were multiple economic benefits associated with the Erie Canal. Freight rates, for example, dropped from somewhere around $100 overland to $7 per ton on the canal. When Grandin purchased his printing press and a new set of heavy lead type, they were floated to Palmyra not far from the back door of Grandin's business.