MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections

Report on Canals, Railways, Roads, &c., &c., Made to the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of
Internal Improvements


by William Strickland

(Philadelphia, 1826)

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American architect William Strickland (1788-1854) started his career as a scene painter, gaining early recognition for his straightforward and accurate depictions of architectural subjects. He later became an architect (a leader of the Greek revival movement in America) and was intimately involved in many engineering projects as well. In 1825 the Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Internal Improvements hired Strickland to travel to Great Britain to observe and describe canals, roads, railways, bridges, etc., and to collect information that would be useful for planning successful public improvements in Pennsylvania. The Society was very pleased by Strickland’s “minute,” “distinct,” and “accurate” work, published without revision as Report on Canals, Railways, Roads, &c., &c., Made to the Society for the Promotion of Internal Improvements.

The book incorporates 46 pages of prose reports on subjects ranging from canals to locomotives to gas lighting. The 72 precisely rendered plans and diagrams are reproduced as engravings. Shown here, an underground canal that links two major English arteries, the Thames River and the Medway.


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