Product Details

Potomac Canal Waterway West
Robert J. Kapsch
West Virginia Univ Press
ISBN or Item #
Date Listed:
2007-08-09 15:54:15
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The Potomac Canal:

George Washington and the Waterway to the West

due September 1st; preorders accepted

by Robert J. Kapsch.

see the author's related title: Canals: an illustrated history of American canals

Softcover, 416 pages, oversize 12x11, many illustrations.

"The Potomac Canal: George Washington and the Waterway to the West is a history of the new nation’s first effort to link the rich western agricultural lands with the coastal port cities of the east.

"The Potomac Canal Company was founded in 1785, and was active until it was overtaken by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company in 1828. During its operation, the canal system was used to ship flour from mills in the foothills of Appalachia to the tidewater of the Chesapeake, where the flour was transshipped to the Caribbean as trade for sugar and other goods. This trade soon became the basis of agricultural wealth in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle and throughout the Appalachian Piedmont. Coal was also shipped via the canal system from the upper reaches of the Potomac River to workshops at Harpers Ferry and beyond. This industrial trade route laid the foundation for what would eventually become the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

The Potomac Canal: George Washington and the Waterway to the West presents a chronological narrative that covers the following topics:

early proposals (1755–1775),

George Washington and the canal system’s early development (1785–1790),

Little Falls and Great Falls (1790–1802),

the Shenandoah and other lateral canals (1802–1812),

operation (1802–1828), and

demise of the canal (1819–1828).

"Also included is information on people of interest, such as Captain George Pointer (a slave who bought his freedom and became a company engineer), George Washington (the first president of the company), and the workmen drawn from various countries.

"Despite the Potomac Canal’s instrumental role in the development of our nation, no book has detailed its history or fully illustrated its routes. The Potomac Canal brings to light the rich history of this important transportation system and its impact on the region and the country. Kapsch discusses not only the canal’s economic impacts but its significance in the lives of the men and women who contributed to the canal’s construction and operation. This is an essential book for scholars of history, architecture, and engineering.

"Robert J. Kapsch, Ph.D., Hon. AIA, ASCE, holds doctorates in American studies and engineering, and architecture, as well as master’s degrees in historic preservation and management. For fifteen years, Dr. Kapsch was chief of the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, the U.S. government’s premier documentation program. He is the author of several books on historic architecture and engineering, including Canals: an illustrated history of American canals (W. W. Norton 2004)."

"The publication of The Potomac Canal has been supported by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council."