October 22, 1821
The steamboat Harriet reached Montgomery after 10 days travel from Mobile, opening river trade between the two cities. With Alabama’s abundance of navigable rivers and lack of early modern roads, steamboats played an integral role in the economic development of the state, particularly in south Alabama. Steamboats carried cotton quickly and cheaply from landings in the interior of the state, including nearly 300 on the Tombigbee River and 200 on the Alabama River, to ports along the Gulf Coast. Steamboats remained the primary means of transportation in Alabama until the late 19th century, when railroad companies laid thousands of miles of steel tracks.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.