Profile America — Friday, August 17th. Young America got the motive power it needed to expand beyond the capacities of the horse on this day in 1807 — as the public got its first glimpse of a steam-powered boat. Robert Fulton in his vessel, the Clermont, went 150 miles from Albany to New York City in 32 hours. The impact of the trip was not immediately clear, and some even called the effort "Fulton's Folly." But steamboats caught on and revolutionized the way America moved. Today, just over 2.2 billion tons of the nation's goods travel on the waterways each year, with the Mississippi River system carrying the most. Commodities shipped by water include petroleum, coal, grain, and gravel. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Chase's Calendar of Events 2012, p. 409 Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, t. 1085, 1084
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