Congress ignored the canal from 1860 to 1867, freeing up the directors to improve it. A $865,000 plan for improvements began, but work was slowed drastically by the American Civil War, and the company was $1.6 million in debt by 1866. In 1867, Congress, now largely free of opposition to the plan, allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to take over improvements to the canal. The two new locks, each 390 feet (120 m) long and 90 feet (27 m) wide, opened in February 1872. By 1877 canal traffic had tripled from any previous level.
However, by the 1870s, more goods were being shipped by railroad and the river was no longer the primary means of transportation, an economic change to which the failures to improve the canal contributed. The river had become most useful for transporting heavy, low-value industrial supplies such as coal, salt and iron ore. In May 1874 Congress passed a bill allowing the Army Corps of Engineers to take over the canal, and authorizing the treasury to pay off the bonds remaining from the recent improvements, and the Louisville and Portland Canal Company faded out of existence. In 1880 Congress made the canal free of toll, and began paying its expenses from the treasury.
A new lock was built in 1921 as a part of Congress's plan for the "canalization" of the Ohio River. As a part of radical enlargements in 1962 to build a new dam and expand the width to 500 feet (150 m), the canal became known the McAlpine Locks and Dam.
Read more about this topic: Louisville And Portland Canal
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Famous quotes containing the word improvements:
“The improvements of ages have had but little influence on the essential laws of mans existence: as our skeletons, probably, are not to be distinguished from those of our ancestors.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“I was interested to see how a pioneer lived on this side of the country. His life is in some respects more adventurous than that of his brother in the West; for he contends with winter as well as the wilderness, and there is a greater interval of time at least between him and the army which is to follow. Here immigration is a tide which may ebb when it has swept away the pines; there it is not a tide, but an inundation, and roads and other improvements come steadily rushing after.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“... these great improvements of modern times are blessings or curses on us, just in the same ratio as the mental, moral, and religious rule over the animal; or the animal propensities of our nature predominate over the intellectual and moral. The spider elaborates poison from the same flower, in which the bee finds materials out of which she manufactures honey.”
—Harriot K. Hunt (18051875)