Today, cars and trucks carry people and goods from one place to another on modern highways.  But there were no roads in the early history of our country.  Lakes and rivers were the first highways.  They provided people and their belongings with the easiest way into the wilderness.  Not surprisingly, towns often grew up along the water, especially at a place where two bodies of water joined each other.


When roads were first built, they were often little more than trails or wide paths.  They were rough and hard to travel on.  When it rained, they often became so muddy it was impossible to use them.


As time went by, railroads were built between towns and cities. They carried passengers as well as cargo, such as lumber or manufactured goods.  Although railroads were very important to the growth of the nation, they did not reach many small communities.



Look at a map of your community to see what means of transportation have been important there.


  1. Do any rivers run near or through your community? ________________
    What are their names? ________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

  2. What other cities does each river connect your community with? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

  3. What railroads run through your community? ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________

  4. What nearby cities does each railroad connect your community with? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________

  5. Besides rivers, what bodies of water (lakes, bays, etc.) serve or once served, as a means of transportation for your community? ______________________________________________________________

  6. Today, modern highways make it easy to get from one place to another.  What major roads or highways run through your community? ______________________________________________________________


Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society