The Erie Canal tells the story of one of America’s most ambitious public-works projects. The canal, stretching from New York to Lake Erie, opened up the West in the early 1800s. Martha E. Kendall’s illustrated history brings into focus the enormous geographic and social impact of this stunning technological feat.
Personal anecdotes and an engaging narrative describe life on the canal in colorful detail, making the story vividly real. Black-and-white archival images and period engravings detail the construction, the challenges, and the excitement surrounding the progress of this national landmark. Detailed maps show the canal in its historic context and in modern times, highlighting the region’s modern transport infrastructure. Extensive back matter, including a chronology and a cast of characters, provides an excellent source for report writers.
Readers will meet De Witt Clinton, mayor of New York and later governor, who tirelessly championed the construction of the canal. He faced down relentless criticism, as doubters dubbed the project "Clinton’s Ditch." The engineering challenges were daunting, and the backbreaking labor was ceaseless. Finally, the canal was completed in 1825 and was instantly hailed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World."
The Erie Canal is the story of an impossible dream fulfilled. The canal ultimately linked the East to the West, made New York the nation’s wealthiest state, and gave many immigrant workers a path to a better life.