The Canal Society of New Jersey returns to our virtual program as Joe Macasek will share the history of the Delaware & Raritan Canal. While George Macculloch was working to complete his Morris Canal across the highlands of New Jersey, farther south men like Robert Stockton and Robert Stevens competed for control of a route across the narrow waist of the state. This route would give the winner access to potential profits from the coal trade and control of the already lucrative trade route between the country’s two greatest cities, New York and Philadelphia. Stockton wanted a canal and Stevens a railroad. In the end, the state legislature settled their differences by giving them both charters. Rather than compete, they formed a joint company that, for 30 years, monopolized transportation, introduced technical innovation, and wielded enormous political power.
For almost a century, New Jersey’s Morris Canal fueled New York City with anthracite coal from northeast Pennsylvania, but now for nearly another century, the abandoned canal has been all but obliterated from the landscape. Join us as Tim Roth of the Canal Society of New Jersey helps uncover this lost canal, its innovative design, and its vital role in the history of New York City. Our discussion will also look at the lives of the people who worked that waterway, and current efforts to return its remnants to public view.
Sitting at the mouth of the Hudson estuary with vast shorelines and moderate tides, New York Harbor is one of the greatest natural ports on earth, yet moving goods around the region on land has always been a challenge. This talk hosted by maritime expert Stefan Dreisbach-Williams will look at the forces that transformed New York into a dominant global port, from the mid-19th to the present, despite the fact that its geography poses huge obstacles for land-based transport by train and truck. We will look at the infrastructure and economic forces behind this paradox, and take note of places where the old technologies are still visible, and how new ones continue to develop.