The paper analyzes the development and subsequent decline of the Middlesex Canal, a twenty-seven mile inland waterway that joined Lowell in northern Massachusetts with Boston and the sea. Built from 1793 to 1804, the canal was an important catalyst in regional economic and transportation development during the early years of the American Industrial Revolution. Data from original financial records of the canal are presented for the period 1825 to 1845 when the canal was most successfully operated. The Middlesex Canal is acknowledged to be a fundamental element in the early development of Lowell as the center for textile manufacturing in the United States.

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