Engineer Benjamin Wright
Benjamin Wright is recognized as the "Father of American Civil Engineering". A country lawyer and surveyor, he became an engineer by experience, not training. He served with great distinction as the chief engineer of the Erie Canal. Two weeks before construction began on the C&O Canal, the canal company board of directors hired Wright to serve in the same capacity. Construction of the C&O Canal proved to be more arduous than the Erie because it had to contend with mountains, rivers and the railroad. The marvels of the C&O Canal, including the Monocacy Aqueduct, serve as testimonies to Wright's engineering skills.
Did You Know?
The Paw Paw Tunnel is 3,118 feet long and is lined with almost six million bricks. The 2/3 mile long tunnel saved the canal builders almost six miles of construction along the Paw Paw bends of the Potomac River. The project took twelve years to complete. The tunnel was only wide enough for single lane traffic.