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New Line Poster for Stage Boat Transportation, 1815

New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_JM_Wb2
Document Description
Poster, dated May 1, 1815, announcing new stage boat line operating between Schenectady and Utica, and old line running to Oswego and Seneca Falls, 1913
This is an advertisement for transportation. Looking at this picture, before cars what was one way people got from place to place?
What is meant by "line" in this advertisement?
Why do you think people started a new line?
Why keep the old line?
Why would this mode of transportation be run only "for the season?"
Read the specifics of the old line. Why would it be necessary to keep wagons ready to transport people from Albany to Schenectady?
Would this mode of transportation be for longer or shorter distances?
What might be some “unavoidable accidents?”
Historical Challenges
Research the uses of the Erie Canal. Why was it so important to businesses in New York and Ohio?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math and English Language Arts: Down what waterways did these lines run? About how many miles long was the trip? Create a timetable for departures and arrivals in the form of a brochure. Describe available cabins, restaurants, or lounge areas in the brochure.
American Canal Society. The Canals of New York State. American Canal and Transportation Center, 1995. ISBN: 0933788827
Daino Stack, Debbie and Marquisee, Ronald. Cruising America’s Waterways: The Erie Canal. Media Artists Inc, 2001. ISBN: 0970888600.
Harness, Cheryl. Amazing Impossible Erie Canal. Simon & Schuster Children's, May 1999. ISBN: 0689825846
Larkin, F. Daniel, Julie C. Daniels, and Jean West, eds. Erie Canal: New York's Gift to the Nation, A Document-Based Teacher Resource. Cobblestone Publishng Company, 2001. ISBN: 081267555X
Lourie, Peter. Erie Canal: Canoeing America's Great Waterway. Boyds Mills Press, June 1999. ISBN: 1563977648
Morris, Ann and Ken Heyman. On the Go (Around the World Series). William Morrow & Company, Inc., 1994. ISBN: 0688136370
Myers, Ann. Hoggee. Walker & Company, 2004. ISBN: 0802789269
Stille, Darlene. Boats. Compass Point Books, September 2002. ISBN: 0756502896

Historical Context
Following the American Revolution, the fledgling United States was seeking better travel routes as the country expanded westward.  In New York State, traveling west by land proved to be difficult and less reliable than traveling by waterways; consequently, the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company was formed in 1792 to create a continuous waterway from Schenectady to Oswego on Lake Ontario.  This job was an ambitious undertaking.  Shallow channels had to be deepened, and dams had to be constructed so that water levels would be deep enough for larger boats to travel on the waterway.  In addition, small canals had to be built to straighten the channel and to avoid dangerous rapids and waterfalls.  Although this water navigation system was initially a success, it was expensive to maintain and soon received competition from new turnpikes and improved roadways.  By 1820, the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company's waterway was overrun by the construction of the Erie Canal.

The stage boats advertised in this poster would have run on the waterway created by the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company before the Erie Canal was constructed.

Essential Question
How does geography and the economy influence the development of transportation systems?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this poster and explain how the transportation system was influenced by the geography and the economy.