Friday, June 13, 2008

Chit-Chat Over Coffee Swirls (18)

Topic: The Erie Canal

In 1825 the 363-mile long Erie Canal was opened, connecting Lake Erie to the Hudson (Buffalo to Albany). This 40 foot wide, 4-foot deep was an engineering marvel and all Americans were proud of it. It brought the farm products and raw materials of the Old Northwest Territory, around the eastern Great Lakes, directly to the big manufacturing centers of the East and took immigrant settlers to the vast wilderness easily. It eventually made New York City a more important city than Boston or Philadelphia. Click here for picture of construction.

The great success of the Erie led to a canal building craze that saw over 3,000 miles built by 1840, plus many canals that were never finished. The overbuilding and the coming of THE IRON HORSE soon caused the canals to decline and a number of states defaulted on their canal bonds between 1844 and 1860, plunging many investors here and abroad into debt. (16)

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste of History


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