Gen. Philip Schuyler
may justly be regarded as the father of the United States
As early as 1761, when he was in England
settling the accounts of Gen. John Bradstreet
with the government, he visited the famous canal which the Duke
had just completed, and became profoundly impressed with the importance of such highways in the work of developing the internal resources of his own country.
On his return, he urged the matter upon the attention of his countrymen.
Meanwhile the active mind of Elkanah Watson
(q. v.) had been deeply interested in the subject.
In 1785 he visited Mount Vernon
, where he found Washington
engaged in a project for connecting the waters of the Potomac
with those west of the Alleghany Mountains
He and General Schuyler
projected canals between the Hudson River
and lakes Champlain
, and in 1792 the legislature of New York chartered two companies, known, respectively, as the Western inland lock navigation Company and “Northern inland lock navigation Company,” of both of which Schuyler
was made president, and, at his death, in 1804, he was actively engaged in the promotion of both projects.
The Western canal was never completed, according to its original conception, but was supplemented by the great Erie Canal
, suggested by Gouverneur Morris
In a letter to David Parish, of Philadelphia
, that year.
he distinctly foreshadowed that great work.
As early as 1774 Washington
favored the passage of a law by the legislature of Virginia for the construction of works—canals and good wagonroads—by which the Potomac
and Ohio rivers
might be connected by a chain of commerce.
After the Revolution, the States of Virginia
took measures which resulted in the formation of the famous Potomac Company, to
carry out Washington
In 1784 Washington
revived a project for making a canal through the Dismal Swamp
, not only for drainage, but for navigation between the Elizabeth River
and Albemarle Sound
The oldest work of the kind in the United States
is a canal, begun in 1792, 5 miles in extent, for passing the falls of the Connecticut River
at South Hadley
The earliest completed and most important of the great canals of our country is the Erie
, connecting the waters of Lake Erie
with those of the Hudson River
A committee appointed by Congress during Jefferson
's administration reported in favor of this canal, and a survey was directed to be made.
Commissioners were appointed in 1810, who reported to Congress in March, 1811.
In consequence of the War
of 1812, the project languished until 1817.
In that year ground was broken for the Erie Canal
on July 4, under the authority of New York State
, and on Oct. 26, 1825, the canal was completed.
It was built by the State of New York
at an original cost of $9,000,000, from the operation of which untold wealth has been derived by the city and State of New York
It was completed and formally opened by Governor De Witt Clinton
, its great advocate, in 1825, and has been enlarged at great expense since.
The canal changed the whole aspect of commercial affairs in the Lake
The total area of these five great inland seas is about 90,000 square miles, and their inlets drain a region of 336,000 square miles.
Of the various canals that have been constructed in the United States
, the following are the only ones in commercial operation in 1901, many former ones having been abandoned within recent years because of the demands of commerce for quicker transportation.
An interesting feature of recent canal construction and improvement is the adaptation of these waterways to vessels of large tonnage, using steam or other swift motive power.
The old-fashioned canal, accommodating small boats drawn by mules or horses, has given way to the ship-canal, through which a war-ship can safely speed.
Canals in the United States
|Albemarle and Chesapeake||$1,641,363||1860||44||Norfolk, Va., to Currituck Sound, N. C.|
|Augusta||1,500,000||1847||9||Savannah River, Ga., to Augusta, Ga.|
|Black River||3,581,954||1849||35||Rome, N. Y., to Lyons Falls, N. Y.|
|Cayuga and Seneca ||2,232,632||1839||25||Montezuma, N. Y., to Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, N. Y.|
|Champlain ||4,044,000||1822||81||Whitehall, N. Y., to Waterford.
|Chesapeake and Delaware||3,730,230||1829||14||Chesapeake City, Md., to Delaware City, Del.|
|Chesapeake and Ohio||11,290,327||1850||184||Cumberland, Md., to Washington, D. C.|
See next page.|
|Companys ||90,000||1847||22||Mississippi River, La., to Bayou Black, La.|
|Delaware and Raritan ||4,888,749||1838||66||New Brunswick, N. J., to Trenton, N. J.|
|Delaware Division||2,433,350||1830||60||Easton, Pa., to Bristol, Pa.|
|Des Moines Rapids||4,582,009||1877||7 1-2||At Des Moines Rapids, Mississippi River.|
|Dismal Swamp||2,800,000||1822||22||Connects Chesapeake Bay with Albemarle Sound.|
|Erie ||52,540,800||1825||381||Albany, N. Y., to Buffalo, N. Y.|
|Fairfield ||4 1-2||Alligator River to Lake Mattimuskeet, N. C.|
|Galveston and Brazos||340,000||1851||38||Galveston, Tex., to Brazos River, Tex.|
|Hocking ||975,481||1843||42||Carroll, O., to Nelsonville, O.|
|Illinois and Michigan||7,357,787||1848||102||Chicago, 111., to La Salle, Ill.|
|Illinois and Mississippi||568,643||1895||4 1-2||Around lower rapids of Rock River, Ill. Connects with Mississippi River.|
|Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co.||4,455,000||1821||108||Coalport, Pa., to Easton, Pa.|
|Louisville and Portland||5,578,631||1872||2 1-2||At Falls of Ohio River, Louisville, Ky.|
|Miami and Erie||8,062,680||1835||274||Cincinnati, O., to Toledo, O.|
|Morris ||6,000,000||1836||103||Easton, Pa., to Jersey City, N. J.|
|Muscle Shoals and Elk River Shoals.||3,156,919||1889||16||Big Muscle Shoals, Tenn., to Elk River Shoals, Tenn.|
|Newbern and Beaufort||3||Clubfoot Creek to Harlow Creek, N C.|
|Ogeechee ||407,818||1840||16||Savannah River, Ga., to Ogeechee River, Ga.|
|Ohio ||4,695,204||1835||317||Cleveland, O., to Portsmouth, O.|
|Oswego||5,239,526||1828||38||Oswego, N. Y., to Syracuse, N. Y.|
|Pennsylvania||7,731,750||1839||193||Columbia, Northumberland, W1ilkesbarre, Huntingdon, Pa.|
|Portage Lake and Lake Superior||528,892||1873||25||From Keweenaw Bay to Lake Superior.|
|Port Arthur||1899||7||Port Arthur, Tex., to Gulf of Mexico.|
|Santa Fe ||70,00||1880||10||Waldo, Fla., to Melrose, Fla.|
|Sault Ste. Marie ||4,000,000||1895||3||Connects Lakes Superior and Huron at St. Mary's River.|
|Schuylkill Navigation Co||12,461,600||1826||108||Mill Creek, Pa., to Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Sturgeon Bay and Lake Michigan||99,661||1881||1 1-4||Between Green Bay and Lake Michigan.|
|St. Mary's Falls||7,909,667||1896||1 1-3||Connects Lakes Superior and Huron at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.|
|Susquehanna and Tidewater||4,931,345||1840||45||Columbia, Pa., to Havre de Grace, Md.|
|Walhonding||607,269||1843||25||Rochester, O., to Roscoe, O.|
|Welland ||23,796,353||....||26 3-4||Connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.|
Chicago drainage Canal
A canal intended chiefly for carrying off the sewage of Chicago
, but which may be used for commercial purposes; begun in September, 1892; completed in January, 1900.
The main channel is 29 miles long, extending from Chicago
to Locksport on the Illinois River
, into which stream it discharges.
About 9 miles of the channel is cut through solid rock, with a minimum depth of 22 feet and a width of 160 feet on the bottom in rock, which makes it the largest artificial channel in the world.
The length of the waterway from the mouth of the Chicago River
to its terminus south of Joliet
is about 42 miles. The cost of the canal was estimated at about $45,000,000.