The Erie Canal, 1858 map.
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Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Opened in 1825, the 363-mile Erie Canal was the first transportation system linking the eastern seaboard (New York City) to the nation's the western interior (Great Lakes) that did not require portage.  The canal cut transport costs by about 95 percent and forced the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to construct its own expensive Main Line of Public Works canal and rail system to link Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

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