The Morris Canal and the Age of Ingenuity: Climbing Mountains to Solve America's First Energy Crisis

The Morris Canal and the Age of Ingenuity: Climbing Mountains to Solve America's First Energy Crisis

by Kevin W. Wright


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Hauling Pennsylvania anthracite and backloads of iron ore among mountain mines, inland ports and tidewater cites along its 106-mile route, the Morris Canal (1824-1924) with its water-powered inclined planes performed an engineering feat of worldwide note. The Morris Canal and the Age of Ingenuity traces the rise and fall of this hybrid canal-and-railway from technological marvel to quaint curiosity over the course of a century. Built as part of an ambitious network of nineteenth-century "internal improvements," it combined with other canals and railways to solve America's first energy crisis, relieving rising seaboard cities of dependence on depleted woodlots and mud roads. Though superseded by all-season railroads of far greater capacity, the canal fills a formative chapter in the backstory of America's rise from colonial backwater to global economic powerhouse. For those who recognize the importance of innovation to economic growth, the Morris Canal also presents a historical lesson of timely interest.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781634990042
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 05/04/2016
Series: America Through Time
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 374,889
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Born in Newton, NJ, Kevin Wright graduated Rutgers College. He was successively tour director at Waterloo Village, curator at the Steuben House in River Edge and regional resource-interpretive specialist for thirty years before retiring in 2008. Often speaking on historical topics, he has authored books and articles, exhibit catalogues, brochures, blogs and websites. His service with historical societies and preservation commissions includes terms as president of the Sussex County Historical Society and of the Bergen County Historical Society.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 7

Introduction 8

1 The Coal Rush 11

2 The Morris Canal and Banking Company 21

3 A Work in Progress 35

4 Troubled Waters 79

5 A Paying Proposition 109

6 Back Number 146

Endnotes 169

Bibliography 200

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