The Amazing Pennsylvania Canals by William H Shank, PE is truly amazing as suggested. This map scanned from the book displays all 1,243 miles of public and private canals operated in PA, not all concurrently. The Sandy and Beaver Canal which starts across the river from Georgetown is shown branching into Ohio along a former Indian trail to the Moravian villages. The first edition of this book was published in 1960. My booklet is the third edition printed in Oct 1973.
I did not realize the canal boom of the early 1800’s was so extensive. The connecting canal systems opened an avenue of transportation between the East and Ohio River Valley before the contrivance of railroads. Capt Jacob Poe’s river career on the steamer Beaver No 2 was in the Allegheny River trade transporting passengers and freight between Pittsburgh and various canal stops. Many of the “ports” along the canal system routes developed into sizable thriving communities: Freeport, Johnstown, Hollidaysburg, Middletown, Fredericktown, OH, and Hanoverton, OH.
Railroads signaled the demise of the canal systems and the bustling towns along the canal routes beginning in the 1850′s. Today virtually all that remains of this grand past are ruins of various canal locks and National Historic Trust homes and taverns that have been saved such as the Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton, OH and Union Canal House near Hershey, PA.
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