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The Susquehanna River is the longest river in the Eastern United States and the 16th longest in the country at 444 miles long. The Susquehanna forms from two branches that meet in Sunbury, Pennsylvania. The North Branch comes from Cooperstown, New York and the West Branch that rises from the borough of Carrolltown, Pennsylvania.
The river has played a very important role throughout American history from colonial times, through the industrial revolution, to today. Through the early 19th century, the West Branch Susquehanna provided the main canoe route that connects the Susquehanna and Ohio valleys.
With the start of the industrial revolution, many factories sprung up around the banks of the River to make use of its moving water to power mills and coal machinery. It also made transportation of raw and manufactured easier and more convenient.
The Susquehanna has played an important role in the transportation history of the United States. Prior to the construction of the Port Deposit Bridge in 1818, the only way to cross the north, south barrier was by ferry. The earliest dams were constructed to help ferry companies in times of low water so they continue to operate.
Canals where constructed in the 1820s and 30s to help with navigations and to bypass rapids. The canals required more dams so sufficient water could be provided for their use. As industry improved, bridges replaceds ferries, and railroads replaced canals.
The railroads were generally constructed over where canals used to be, running along the water. Today, most of the canals have been filled in, but you can still see remnants of a few throughout the river.
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