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Inquiry Question

Historical Context

Map 1




Table of

Locating the Site

Map 2: Waterloo and Seneca Falls, New York.

[Graphic] Map 2 with link to higher quality map.
(National Park Service.)

Waterloo had been founded at the end of the 18th century, when New York state negotiated treaties that extinguished the land claims of the Cayuga and Seneca nations. The nearby Seneca River attracted settlers who saw that it could power mills. The town also benefitted from its position along an east-west turnpike and along a canal that linked two local lakes. In 1828, improvements to the Cayuga and Seneca Canal connected Waterloo to the Erie Canal; in 1841, the Rochester and Auburn Railroad began to serve Waterloo. By 1840 Waterloo had become a community of nearly 3,600 people, while Seneca Falls, less than four miles away, added another 4,000 residents to the area. Both featured a growing number of homes, shops, and churches, while farms filled the surrounding countryside.

1. What methods of transportation served Seneca Falls and Waterloo?

2. The businessmen of Seneca Falls helped pay to bring the railroad to their town. Why would they do that?

3. Do you think the people in the two towns would have interacted much? Why or why not?

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Comments or Questions

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