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The Allegheny River


Watershed of the Nation. By Jim Schafer and Mike Sajna.

Of all the rivers in the country, few can claim as long, diverse, and colorful a history as the Allegheny. Jim Schafer and Mike Sajna take us on a trip from its mouth to its headwaters, charting the Allegheny River's history from its creaton during the Ice Age to the present. Using historical records and accounts, interviews, personal experiences, and over 150 contemporary and historical photographs, Schafer and Sajna vividly portray the mighty Allegheny.

The Allegheny played a key role in the French and Indian War, and after the Revolution it was the main thoroughfare for immigrants heading west to settle America from Ohio to the Northwest Territory, thus earning Pittsburgh the title "Gateway to the West." Part of the river's story includes its role in the Industrial Revolution, for it once bore the environmental scars of unrestricted industrialization. Today it has rebounded to become one of the best fisheries in the state and home to a diverse collection of flora and fauna, including several engangered species. It is also now one of the most heavily used rivers for recreation in the country.

Throughout the text, Sajna weaves vignettes with the famous figures and interesting characters who have encountered the river, from George Washington, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., and Andrew Carnegie, to Seneca Chief Cornplanter, John Wilkes Booth, "Johnny Appleseed," and Rachel Carson. He also interviews contemporary people who live, work, or take inspiration from the river, including a woodcarver, a riverboat captain, and vacationers and naturalists. Through words and photographs, Schafer and Sajna depict the ever-changing face of the river.

Hardback. 304 p.