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Binding Our State Together: 200 years of Canals, Railroads, Postal Service, Interurbans, and Roads

A Road Scholar Program by Norm Moline

In Illinois, as in most places, people and communities have sought to connect with other places for personal, cultural, economic, and political reasons. During our 200 years, private companies, state government, and national government have developed different forms of transportation and communication. Each form made unique contributions to this binding process by expanding the spaces used by people and economic activities and would be worthy of its own session. Yet, at this time of our bicentennial, this session will cover them as part of the cumulative effect. Our territory was changed from a sparsely settled and minimally connected area to a place with an extensive set of linkages between communities and regions. As these linkages expanded connectivity for most people, some have had to deal with fewer connections by any means other than an automobile. Clearly, these transportation and postal service developments have been key factors in shaping our state’s history and character. Though the core changes are obvious and perhaps taken for granted, the details and interesting stories along that historical path are fascinating and illustrate our desires and need for connections.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Peggy Drane at pdrane56@gmail.com.