Thursday, February 21, 2019

Thomas Jefferson called it “a little short of madness.” But the audacious construction of the Erie Canal, 1817 to 1825, turned into one of the most successful and influential public investments in American history. The story will be told at 2 p.m. and repeated at 6 p.m. Thursday, February 21, at the Fond du Lac Public Library. The History at Home programs are free; no registration required.

Historian Dick Campbell will recount how in the first quarter-century of the 1800s, leaders recognized that the Appalachians were a formidable obstacle to uniting the Atlantic states with the vast lands of the West. A pathway for commerce and travel was critical to the security and expansion of the American Revolution’s achievement.

Since retiring from the role of executive director of the Oshkosh YMCA, Campbell has traveled extensively in the region – and as far as Fairbanks, Alaska – presenting an array of history programs on topics as wide-ranging as the Oregon Trail and Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to the Antarctic.

The presentations are part of the library’s monthly History at Home program, which focuses on local and area history at 2 p.m. and repeated at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month. Coming March 21: local historian Tracy Reinhardt will tell the story of Carrie Nation’s trip to Fond du Lac.