Main Line of Pennsylvania Canal

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United States Gotoarrow.png Migration Gotoarrow.png Canals Gotoarrow.png Main Line of Pennsylvania Canal

Pennsylvania canals.png

Historic Background[edit | edit source]

Transportation canals in the United states helped connect isolated rural areas to urban population centers. The golden age of historic transportation canals was from 1820 until railroads began to replace canals in the 1850s. Settlers flooded into regions serviced by such canals and the waterways they connected because they could use the waterways to sell their agricultural products and obtain manufactured goods. The Erie Canal connected New York City to the Great Lakes. The Illinois and Michigan Canal connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River system. The short two mile Louisville and Portland Canal by-passed some waterfalls to make the entire length of the Ohio River from the Mississippi River to Pittsburgh available to boats or rafts. Pennsylvania combined canals and railroads. New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, and Indiana also built canals that were enticing to settlers.[1]

Pennsylvania Main Canal Creation[edit | edit source]

The Main Line of Public Works was a railroad and canal system across southern Pennsylvania between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Built between 1826 and 1834 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it included the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, the Allegheny Portage Railroad and the Pennsylvania Canal system.[2]

Understanding the transportation systems available to ancestors can help genealogists better guess their place of origin. Connect the place where an ancestor settled to the nearby canals, waterways, trails, roads, and railroads to look for connections to places they may have lived previously.

Genealogical Sources[edit | edit source]

Possible records to search for those who traveled these routes:

External Links[edit | edit source]

Cyndi's List - Canals, Rivers and Waterways

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Canal" in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 22 June 2009).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Main_Line_of_Public_Worksl" in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 6 July 2015).