The Mohawk River courses through Rome, about 10 mi north of Interstate 90, and the route linking the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes cuts through the area. The Oneida were the first to live in this area, and in the 1600s British and French fur traders came to barter for black-beaver pelts. In the 1750s the British built Fort Stanwix, which the Americans took over just before the Revolutionary War. And it was here, in
1817, that the first portion of the Erie Canal was dug. Today about 35,000 people live in Rome, where the former Griffiss Air Force Base has been converted into a high-tech community. The city is home to a number of historic sites that attract tens of thousands of visitors each year.