Source: adapted from A.R. Pred (1973) Urban Growth and the
Circulation of Information, 1790-1840, Harvard.
Note: State boundaries are contemporary.
Inland Travel Time from New York, 1800 - 1830 (in days)
Before the construction of the first intercity rail lines from
the 1830s, inland travel was a time consuming and expensive process.
Yet, in the beginning of the 19th century, significant improvements
were made, which lessened inland travel time. The construction of
the first turnpikes and canals started to the time it took to access
the hinterland. While it took about 10 days to reach Buffalo from
New York in 1800, the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 reduced this
time to about 4 days. The construction of the Cumberland Road,
starting from 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 previously more
than a month to reach it from New York.