Miss Regan's Erie Canal WebQuest

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America was still young in the 1800s.  Travel by land was slow and 
difficult.  There were few roads and many dangers along the way.  Settlers 
who pushed west in covered wagons usually did not return. They stayed West 
rather than make the long trip back.  However, settlers in the West needed 
goods made in the East.  At the same time, farmers in the West need to sell 
their wheat and other crops to cities in the East. If only there was a way to 
send goods by water instead of by land…

A canal, or man-made waterway, was the answer.  The Erie Canal was the first 
waterway built in the United States.  The Erie Canal crosses New York State 
from Buffalo on Lake Erie to Troy, near Albany on the Hudson River.  The 
canal links the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.  It helped turn New York 
into a major seaport.

The Erie Canal System took eight years to complete.  The canal carried 
people and good for hundreds of miles.  It helped open the West and helped 
New York become the Empire State.  While the canal was being built, 
inventors were already at work on the steam engine and the railroad.  The 
railroad would soon replace canals for shipping and traveling.

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Last Modified: Saturday, February 07, 2009
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