Pennsylvania Toll Roads and Canals, 1790-1850.
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Map of Toll Roads and canals.

Credit: WITF, Inc.

In an effort to draw the wealth of western Pennsylvania to the merchants in the east, Pennsylvania's political leaders funded a network of expensive road building in the early 1790s. This included the nation's first paved toll road, known as the Philadelphia-Lancaster Turnpike. In the 1830s the Commonwealth funded a highly ambitious and expensive transportation line of canals and railways that extended from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

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