The Main Stream Of New England

Flowing from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, nourishing both industry and agriculture, and carrying on its back sailing sloops, steamships, and pleasure craft, the Connecticut River has been for three hundred years.

A river is the most human and companionable of all inanimate things,” wrote the famous clergyman-educator Henry van Dyke. “It has a life, a character, a voice of its own.” Everyone, therefore, has his favorite stream, from Father Tiber to the mighty Pedernales. Ancient man revered and deified great rivers like the Ganges and the Nile, and along them have grown trade, settlement, and civilization.

The Farmington Canal

The hand-dug waterway is mostly forgotten now, but it opened up areas of New England as well as imaginations.

The first years of the 1800s in America were loud with canal talk. The enormous success of the Erie Canal had aroused engineering instincts in every American. Even the barnyard was invaded; inventive farmers were building small canals from their farms to the nearest river, some had devised sluiceways from barn to barn for floating heavy loads instead of hauling them in wagons, and others made canal ways from their land to the nearest mill to float logs and grain boats instead of braving the yard-thick mud of the roads.