Canals for a Nation: The Canal Era in the United States, by Ronald E. Shaw

By Ronald E. Shaw

All yet forgotten other than as part of nostalgic lore, American canals through the first half the 19th century supplied a transportation community that was once important to the advance of the hot state. They decreased transportation bills, carried an unlimited grain alternate from western farms to jap ports, added Pennsylvania coal to big apple, and carried hundreds of thousands of passengers at what appeared easy pace. alongside their classes sprang up new cities and towns and with them new financial progress.
Canals for a state brings jointly in a single quantity a survey of the entire significant American canals. listed here are money owed of cutting edge engineering, of close to heroic figures who dedicated their lives to canals, and of canal tasks that triumphed over the entire uncertainties of the political approach.

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Through them passed the little boats that entered the Potomac at Lock's Cove, from which they were poled to Georgetown, Washington, or Alexandria. By then the company had abandoned its plans for connections to the Ohio and limited its work to the improvement of the Potomac. 16 Still, the Potomac Company's improvements served the Potomac trade and kept alive the ulti- Page 9 mate goal of a canal to the Ohio River. Its faltering finances demonstrated the need for the national aid that would make possible its successor, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which would pass beside the Potomac to Harpers Ferry by 1830.

Weston was probably the son of Samuel Weston, an experienced English canal engineer, and he was recommended by William Jessop, who was then the leading engineer in England. William Weston had trained under James Brindley and had worked on canals in Ireland and central England. He was offered the then stunning stipend of £800 a year to work for the company for five years. When he arrived in Pennsylvania in 1793, he found more than six hundred men at work at Norristown and on the summit level on the canal between Lebanon and Myerstown.

A canal to connect the Connecticut River above Hartford with Boston was proposed by Secretary of War Henry Knox in 1790. Knox brought a surveyor from England, Captain John Hills, who examined a route but took no levels, and the company chartered for the canal was never organized. But across the Hudson River in New York the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, headed by General Philip Schuyler, made a significant effort to improve the navigation of the Mohawk River. Schuyler was typical of the public-spirited, land-speculating investors who plunged into canal building to improve water transportation to the West.

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