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Virtual Talk: “Schenectady and the Regional Transportation Rivalry, Canals and Railroads, 1815-1860”

January 24 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm



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This virtual program is part of our Winter Speaker Series, and will be presented on Zoom. A Zoom link will be emailed to all SCHS members before the program. 

All aboard for a journey through 19th-century Schenectady history, with Dr. Michael Wheeler as your guide! We’ll delve into the complexities of a gripping transportation rivalry, and explore the clash between private railroads and the State-owned canal system. Join Dr. Wheeler as he uncovers the intricacies of transportation competition among New York, Boston, and Montreal. As a cartographer, Dr. Wheeler has developed extensive maps to illustrate this important period in New York State history. He’ll discuss his findings, shed light on the transportation rivalries that shaped the region in the 1800s, and discuss the critical transportation and settlement results in the Hudson, Mohawk, and Lake Champlain valleys.

Dr. Wheeler has undergraduate degrees in history and computer science. He has worked in Information Technology (IT) for 25 years, primarily in defense, finance, and geovisualization. Among other professional roles, he worked as IT manager of a U.S. hedge fund in Tokyo, Japan, and served as co-architect for a worldwide trading and hedging software system for a Big Oil customer. For the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), he helped to improve the Counter/IED problem (“roadside bombs”) for the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, modelled possible cyber vulnerabilities in U.S. critical infrastructure for the Air Force, and worked on safe drone flight in the National Air Space (NAS). Most recently, he has been working in Artificial Intelligence (AI) applied to Multi-INT fusion. Dr. Wheeler earned a master’s degree in strategic studies at Johns Hopkins – SAIS, where
he wrote a thesis on Union military cartography in the Civil War. He returned to academia in 2000 where he worked on his PhD at Syracuse University developing 3D animated maps of New York State canals and railroads. This talk is largely derived from that dissertation work.


January 24
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm