NEW ROADS AND CANALS HELP CONNECT THE COUNTRY
Macadamized Roads Allow Faster and Easier Travel
Both the National Pike and the Maysville Turnpike were built according to specifications of John Loudon MacAdam. The section of the National Pike in Ohio between Bridgeport and Zanesville was 73 miles in length, and required five years to build. The Maysville Turnpike between Maysville and Washington (Kentucky), en route to Lexington, was the first “macadamized” road in Kentucky. It was completed in November of 1830. Macadamized roads required great sums of time and money due to MacAdam’s rigorous specifications. Rocks could be no more than six ounces in weight, and two inches in diameter. The road was constructed in three layers of stone, each rolled with a cast-iron roller. The thickness was between 12 and 15 inches, with drainage ditches at the sides. On macadamized roads, stage coaches and freight wagons could travel unimpeded by bogs or ruts. The speed and reliability of travel increased, as did the pace of settlement and commerce in America.
The Horse Helps Build Canals
Providing transportation has always been the basic duty of the horse – even when it came to canals. In 1825, the Erie Canal was opened by Governor DeWitt Clinton. “Clinton’s Ditch” soon became loaded to capacity with barges pulled by horses, carrying freight and settlers to the West and raw materials to the industrial East. New canals throughout the East displaced the Conestoga wagons for carrying freight. However, people still preferred the faster stagecoaches as a means of travel.
August 28, 1830 – Tom Thumb versus the Horse
On August 28, 1830, a few miles west of Baltimore, Maryland, there was a test of muscle against steam – a race between two railroad cars. One was pulled by a horse and the other was pulled by the steam engine “Tom Thumb,” built by Peter Cooper of New York. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company built their railway with the intention of using horses to draw the cars. But Cooper had faith in the “Tom Thumb,” and in the future of steam. From the start, the locomotive gradually began to out-distance the horse. Then a belt broke on the engine and the horse carried its car to victory. Even so, the company directors saw the potential of the steam engine, and decided not to use the horse as a source of power. Despite this, during the age of steam, the demand for horsepower actually increased. They transported goods to railheads and delivered local freight from the trains.