Post Roads & Iron Horses
Transportation in Connecticut from Colonial Times to the Age of Steam
Publication Year: 2011
Ebook Edition Note: Seven images from the Connecticut Historical Society have been redacted.
Published by: Wesleyan University Press
Situated on the northern shore of Long Island Sound, Connecticut has always been the gateway to New England, and the land between the major commercial ports of New York and Boston. This book is the first to look in detail at the evolution of the transportation systems that helped to define the history of the state and the region, and to explore how...
Introduction: The Land and Its First Inhabitants
Transportation is the vital link between a people and the land they inhabit; the means we choose to move ourselves, the resources we require, the goods we produce. By overcoming the limitation of distance, transportation makes possible the myriad of economic and social interactions...
Chapter One: Colonial Connecticut
With the growth of the Connecticut colony in the seventeenth century, a network of local, intertown, and intercolony roads developed, poor though they were, and the first ferry and bridge crossings appeared. Since most towns did not set land aside for roads,...
Chapter Two: Turnpikes and Stagecoaches
In the aftermath of the revolution, there was deep concern that if the new nation could not function as an economic whole it would soon dissolve. Providing adequate overland transportation was the key to making commerce possible on a national scale. Burdened by the repayment of state war debts, and...
Chapter Three: Steamboats and Canals
Along with the political and legal revolutions that overtook Connecticut in the first decades of the nineteenth century came a technological revolution based on the mechanization of manufacturing and the power of the steam engine. Steam power revolutionized both industry and...
Chapter Four: The Railroad, Part I
The first railroad charters issued in Connecticut were prompted not by a demand for railroads within the state but by rail construction in surrounding states. The situation was understandable, given that Connecticut had an extensive turnpike network, numerous steamboat...
Chapter Five: The Railroad, Part II
In the 1870s, a new wave of technological innovation swept the nation, centered on the development of electrical power and large-scale technological systems. As the industrial economy continued to expand, railroading became the nation’s first big business and a forerunner of managerial capitalism. By...
Conclusion A: Period of Transition
By the turn of the twentieth century a new transportation technology and a new transportation policy were poised to challenge the dominance of the New Haven’s steam-powered monopoly and redirect Connecticut’s transportation history....
Appendix A: Population by Geomorphic Region, 1800–1920
Appendix B: Corporation Charters
Appendix C: Connecticut Rail Lines