Source: adapted from A.R. Pred (1973) Urban Growth and the Circulation of Information, 1790-1840, Harvard.
Note: State boundaries are contemporary.
Before the construction of the first intercity rail lines in the 1830s, inland travel was a time-consuming and expensive process. Yet, significant improvements were made at the beginning of the 19th century, which lessened inland travel time. The construction of the first turnpikes and canals started reducing hinterland access time. While in 1800, it took about ten days to reach Buffalo from New York, the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 reduced this time to about four days. The Cumberland Road in 1811 was the first national road built by the federal government. It crossed the Allegheny Mountains and reached Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Space/time convergence over the American space improved as the Mississippi could be reached in about two weeks, while it took more than a month previously to reach it from New York.