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Interpreting the Evidence

New Line Poster for Stage Boat Transportation, 1815

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Expansion and Reform (1801 - 1861)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Erie Canal

  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load New Line Poster for Stage Boat Transportation, 1815 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
Poster, dated May 1, 1815, announcing new stage boat line operating between Schenectady and Utica, and old line running to Oswego and Seneca Falls, 1913
Historical Context
Following the American Revolution, the fledgling United States was seeking better travel routes as the country expanded westward.  In New York State, traveling west by land proved to be difficult and less reliable than traveling by waterways; consequently, the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company was formed in 1792 to create a continuous waterway from Schenectady to Oswego on Lake Ontario.  This job was an ambitious undertaking.  Shallow channels had to be deepened, and dams had to be constructed so that water levels would be deep enough for larger boats to travel on the waterway.  In addition, small canals had to be built to straighten the channel and to avoid dangerous rapids and waterfalls.  Although this water navigation system was initially a success, it was expensive to maintain and soon received competition from new turnpikes and improved roadways.  By 1820, the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company's waterway was overrun by the construction of the Erie Canal.

The stage boats advertised in this poster would have run on the waterway created by the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company before the Erie Canal was constructed.

Essential Question
How does geography and the economy influence the development of transportation systems?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this poster and explain how the transportation system was influenced by the geography and the economy.
Historical Challenges
Research the uses of the Erie Canal. Why was it so important to businesses in New York and Ohio?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math and English Language Arts: Down what waterways did these lines run? About how many miles long was the trip? Create a timetable for departures and arrivals in the form of a brochure. Describe available cabins, restaurants, or lounge areas in the brochure.