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?
Transporting goods and people by canal dates back to antiquity. The lock gates used on the C&O Canal were an adaptation of a design by Leonardo DaVinci in the late 1400's. Until the advent of the railroad, water travel was far superior to land travel.