Originally Posted by Rojo
The Ohio River, part of a great inland transportation system that flowed through New Orleans and onto the rest of the world.
It became less important after the St. Lawrence opened. Same thing happened to a lot of small towns on the Erie Canal.
It was more than just transportation. The Great Lakes region had and still has abundant land, fresh water, low energy costs and a central location that, regardless of mode of transport, keeps costs down. On the other hand, if you look at the South and Southwest, they lack at least one of those components, the most striking being water. Look at some of the water supplies for major cities in the South and Southwest and you'll find a shocking decrease in available fresh water. My family used to take vacations to Lake Lanier in Georgia in the '80s, which also happens to be the main water supply for Atlanta. In recent years, the lake has seen record lows, with Florida and Alabama filing suit against Georgia to keep them from drawing so much water out to supply Atlanta. Some of the issues are drought related, but a lot of it is overdevelopment. Or look at the problems with Lake Mead and the Colorado River. Nevada, Arizona and California draw so much water out that Lake Mead could be empty in a decade. The Colorado River stopped making it to the sea generations ago. Yet short sighted people keep building and moving there. I saw a show on the History Channel where they predicted that Las Vegas could be a ghost town by 2050 because there won't be any water left for drinking or Hydroelectric power.