Edited by Gerald Boerner
Today, we see the large ships moving from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway, a system of locks, canals and channels that permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the North American Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior. While Lake Ontario is connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River, any ship or cargo that was be to moved to the major cities on the four other Great Lakes required the hard process of portage across the land separating the lakes. The canals, including the Welland Canal built between 1825 and 1833.
The biggest obstacles to the passage between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie were Niagara Falls and the difference in elevations. The falls made the Niagara River non-navigable to shipping. The difference in elevation between the two lakes required a system of locks to raise or lower the ships in relatively small increments. The construction on this canal started the same year that the Erie Canal opened between Lake Erie and the Hudson River.
The early 19th century was a time of great advances in transportation. First, the great canals in this country were built and opened. This facilitated the movement of manufactured goods and produce to reach the rich markets of New York City and Chicago, as well as other cities along both sides of the lakes. The great railroad systems of the east coast began their building in earnest in the 1830 to compete with the canals for the freight business. These culminated in the building of the first transcontinental railroad was built between 1863 and 1869 to connect the Mississippi River Valley (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska) with the Pacific Coast terminus on the San Francisco Bay (Oakland, California).
It would be followed in the 1950s by President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s creation of the Interstate Highway System. Getting from point to point was made easier with a network of airline connections between most major cities in this country and abroad; many regional centers were also included within this major airline network.
But let’s go back to the starting point of linking the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean that was enabled when the Welland Canal bypassed the barrier of the Niagara Falls… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
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Quotations Related to Canal:
“I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate; and while the debate goes on, the canal does also.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
“The most important event I covered was the Panama Canal debate, which dragged on for months.”
— Jessica Savitch
“Regarding the Panama Canal Treaty negotiations, they will find us standing up or dead, but never on our knees; NEVER!”
— Omar Torrijos Herrera