Interpreting the Evidence
New Line Poster for Stage Boat Transportation, 1815
Suggested Teaching Instructions
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
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.
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.
Research the uses of the Erie Canal. Why was it so important to businesses in New York and Ohio?
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.