Barnet or Bust: Canals on the Connecticut River | Episode 221

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Running from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River cuts through the heart of New England. And for a period of about 40 years, a concerted effort was made to turn the rather wild and narrow river into a transportation superhighway to rival the Hudson. Between 1792 and 1835, seven canals were built to circumvent rapids, with the dream of making the river navigable as far as Barnet, Vermont, 280 miles from the Sound. In this virtual program, Andrew Gustafson, who has paddled most of the river by canoe, will trace the history of engineering and navigation, why the effort ultimately failed, and where this disused infrastructure can still be seen today.

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Steamboat Savant: The Case of Samuel Morey v. Robert Fulton | Episode 182

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While New Yorkers laud native son Robert Fulton as the father of the steamboat, his achievements were built upon the work of many other innovators, among them Samuel Morey. Born in Connecticut and raised in New Hampshire, Morey was a talented engineer who designed and built a series of working paddlewheel steamboats, which became a center of controversy – Morey claimed that Fulton built his steam navigation empire by stealing designs, with the help of his financial backer, the powerful Robert Livingston. In this program we will explore the contributions of Morey and others to early steamboat development, wade into this two-century-old controversy, and explore his namesake lake in Fairlee, Vermont, near where he did his early experiments.

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