Shipping along America’s coasts was vital to the nation’s economy. Lumber, bricks, cotton, and other bulk cargoes from different parts of the country spent time at sea.
Many American cities were built with materials carried over coastal waters. Limestone quarried in Maine was made into mortar and shipped to New York and Boston, where it was used in building construction. Quarries in Maine also supplied granite to complete the Treasury Department building in Washington, D.C., between 1855 and 1869. Matching stone was later shipped to New York and Philadelphia for new, grand central post offices.