The Erie Canal

Overview

The Erie Canal tells the story of one of America’s most ambitious public-works projects. The canal, stretching from New York to Lake Erie, opened up the West in the early 1800s. Martha E. Kendall’s illustrated history brings into focus the enormous geographic and social impact of this stunning technological feat.

Personal anecdotes and an engaging narrative describe life on the canal in colorful detail, making the story vividly real. Black-and-white archival images and period ...

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Overview

The Erie Canal tells the story of one of America’s most ambitious public-works projects. The canal, stretching from New York to Lake Erie, opened up the West in the early 1800s. Martha E. Kendall’s illustrated history brings into focus the enormous geographic and social impact of this stunning technological feat.

Personal anecdotes and an engaging narrative describe life on the canal in colorful detail, making the story vividly real. Black-and-white archival images and period engravings detail the construction, the challenges, and the excitement surrounding the progress of this national landmark. Detailed maps show the canal in its historic context and in modern times, highlighting the region’s modern transport infrastructure. Extensive back matter, including a chronology and a cast of characters, provides an excellent source for report writers.

Readers will meet De Witt Clinton, mayor of New York and later governor, who tirelessly championed the construction of the canal. He faced down relentless criticism, as doubters dubbed the project "Clinton’s Ditch." The engineering challenges were daunting, and the backbreaking labor was ceaseless. Finally, the canal was completed in 1825 and was instantly hailed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World."

The Erie Canal is the story of an impossible dream fulfilled. The canal ultimately linked the East to the West, made New York the nation’s wealthiest state, and gave many immigrant workers a path to a better life.

National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information. 

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8- "Clinton's Ditch" could have just as easily been called "Hawley's Folly." For in 1807-1808, Jesse Hawley wrote 14 articles from his jail cell about his idea for a canal that would link the Hudson River and Lake Erie based on information about the Iroquois Great Central Trail. Too many factors were prohibitive during his time, though, so it was left for other visionaries to undertake the mission, beginning in 1817. With ease and grace, Kendall explains what a daunting task it was. Her style of writing is casual, and her turn of phrase is humorous at times. "Most projects begin at the beginning, but the Erie Canal began in the middle." She talks of those who worked the canal and the obstacles that they faced: mosquitoes, which almost ended the project, and rattlesnakes. One map shows the region in 1817 when the canal was begun and another shows it as it exists today, indicating the importance that the canal was to growth in the area. The illustrated material evolves from reproductions and drawings in the beginning of the book to black-and-white photographs in the discussion of current use at the end. This is a fascinating story that deserves to be told.-Sheila Fiscus, Our Lady of Peace School, Erie, PA

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426300226
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 3/11/2008
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 955,867
  • Product dimensions: 7.47 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha E. Kendall is a native of New York, who grew up around the Erie Canal. She has written several nonfiction books for children. Her most popular titles include For the Love of Chimps: The Jane Goodall Story and the award-winning Failure Is Impossible: The History of American Women’s Rights. Kendall attended the Eastman School of Music where she studied the cello. She sings and plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, penny whistle, and bass. In addition to playing classical music, she performs regularly in bluegrass and swing ensembles. She lives in Los Gatos, CA.
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Table of Contents

High Speed!     7
Wedding of the Waters     15
Solution From a Jail Cell     25
Digging Clinton's Ditch     33
Well Begun, Far From Done     41
All The Way - Almost     51
Locking up and Down     61
Low Bridge     71
On the Move     81
Working Like a Mule     89
At Home on a Canal Boat     101
Wheels of Progress     107
Let's Cruise     117
Chronology     122
Glossary     123
Resources & Credits     124
Index     126
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