Canal Exploration Center, National Park Service
In 1825, paved roads were scarce in America, and so the canals were built. These watery interstate highways used flatboats pulled by mules, to move goods east and west. The Canal Era is about the opening up of the American middle, connecting the Mississippi to the Hudson River, so goods could flow westward from New York and Boston, and then south from Ohio, to New Orleans.
Canal boats brought new consumer goods into the heartland and carried out raw materials. No longer reliant on homemade things, Americans became shoppers. During the Canal Era, the national identity and the national economy began to gel.
Interactive maps and games (produced by Harvest Moon Studio), explore why a growing nation needed canals. Planning, design and exhibit copy by Krister Olson of KO Design, with Heather Lindquist.