“Blackstone Canal,” oil on canvas. Artist unknown. Circa 1828-1848. From the collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Used with permission.

The Museum of Newport Irish History announces the fourth talk in its 19th Annual Michael F. Crowley Lecture Series, to be presented “virtually” on Tuesday, March 16 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. 
Chuck Arning, an award-winning public historian with nearly twenty-five years’ experience as an interpretive ranger with the National Park Service, will present a talk entitled:

How Hard Would it be to Dig a Ditch Anyhow? – How the Irish Saved the Blackstone Canal”

Rhode Islanders were excited about building the Blackstone Canal and saw it as a major employment opportunity. However, canal construction proved more difficult than originally thought and Rhode Islanders in 1824 struggled to build it.
The project was in dire straits, so a call went out to the battled-tested Erie Canal builders, who happened to be Irish.

 Chuck Arning, Public Historian

Arning’s talk will examine why the Irish came to build the early canals of America.  He will focus on how the Irish saved the Blackstone Canal, an important economic engine of its day that stretched from the exploding seaport of Providence,
R.I. to the rural landscape of Central Mass., terminating in the Village of Worcester. He will also discuss what happened after the canal project was completed.

The lecture is free of charge and open to all, but reservations are required to receive the Zoom login information.

To reserve, please visit the “Lectures” page at newportirishhistory.org, where you may also access a complete lecture overview and speaker bio, plus videotapes of past lectures.
For additional information, please contact Ann Arnold at newportirishhistory@gmail.com or (401) 841-5493.

About the Illustration:

“Blackstone Canal,” oil on canvas. Artist unknown. Circa 1828-1848.  From the collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Used with permission.


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