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Children's LiteratureThis historical account begins in 1825 when the Seneca Chief traveled the full 500 miles of the Erie Canal. The building of this important link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes had taken eight years. Robert Fulton, James Geddes, and DeWitt Clinton were among the influential leaders who convinced the New York state Legislature of the value of such an expansive and expensive project. Descriptions of the terrain the canal passes through and some of the hardships of the people involved in the construction contribute to the understanding of the magnitude of the project. The canal remained a major transportation waterway for over one hundred years. Families lived on canal boats carrying passengers and all types of freight, including circus animals, from time to time. Young boys drove the mules along the towpath that pulled the boats. In 2001, the Erie Canal was designated as a National Heritage Corridor. It no longer carries freight, but recreational visitors enjoy traveling along parts of the canal. They can view the series of locks at the steep Niagara Escarpment and the beautiful archways formed by old aqueducts crossing the rivers of New York. Attractive formatting features a deep red border around each double-page spread. Photographs in both color and black and white, maps, and drawings add interest to the factual text. A glossary, a timeline, a bibliography, and an index are included as aids for young researchers. This book is part of the "We the People" series 2005, Compass Point Books, Ages 7 to 10.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.