The Rise and Fall of River and Rail transportation in Madison, Indiana.

A New Boat for a New Age

Fitch steamboatPrior to the establishment of railroads in the Ohio River Valley, the explosively expanding trade in produce and manufactured goods with the Eastern and Southern parts of the country made mass river transport a necessity. To speed the process of moving goods and people along the great waterway, several engineers and inventors developed early versions of the steamboat. These devices drastically reduced transit time and increased carrying capacity, ensuring higher profits and in turn a solid foundation for the American economy.