Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Middle (X) - U.S. History (X) - Economics (X)

Old Red Trail | Construction Changes

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Early road construction was time-consuming and expensive.  In 1959, road crews could lay out one mile of road a day at best. With today’s technology and equipment, paving and grading roads is much easier and faster.  Construction of bridges required specialists who could design the river-spanning lengths.  In the 1960s, road construction cost $400,000 per mile of four-lane highway, including the cost of land, equipment, workers’ pay, bridges, and materials.  Today, roads cost more than four times that for two lanes in one direction, but they last 50% longer

Engineering the Jet Age

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Trace the emergence of the passenger jet from its military origins and learn about the obstacles and opportunities that Boeing’s president Bill Allen faced taking the company into the jet age, in this video from WGBH and The Documentary Group. After World War II, Boeing relied on sales of the B-47 bomber to keep the company afloat. This plane, which flew nearly 600 miles per hour at 35,000 feet, inspired Allen to conceive of a future in which commercial airline passengers would fly in jets. A decade after the close of World War II, Boeing delivered the 707. Within a year, more travelers were crossing the Atlantic by air than by sea. This resource is part of the Aerospace Engineering Collection.

The Crisis Divides Rural Communities (14) | Farm Crisis

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Rural communities face deep rifts because of the farm crisis, especially between farmers and their lenders. This segment is part of the The Farm Crisis documentary, which examines the tragic circumstances faced by farmers for most of the 1980s, when thousands were forced into bankruptcy, land values dropped by one-third nationally, and sky-high interest rates turned successes into failures seemingly overnight.

Great States | Iowa Economy

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Iowa’s natural resources gave rise to its early industries like lumber and coal mining. Discover how the real key to Iowa’s growth as a modern economy was transportation. Stagecoaches, freight wagons, steamboats, and trains were crucial to Iowa’s commercial development. 

Port Canaveral | Central Florida Roadtrip

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In addition to the space industry at Cape Canaveral, is the now growing cruise and cargo industry at Port Canaveral. To many it may seem like the Port has only been around for a few years, but in fact it is now over 60 years old.

Money Drives | Steamboats on the Red

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Find out why businessmen considered the Red River of the North a water highway in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. The Red River of the North isn’t the first river that comes to mind when a person thinks of a water highway. So what could have possibly driven businessmen to think of it as such? Money. Money drove companies, like the Hudson’s Bay Company, to find a shorter and more economical route from New York to St. Paul, Minnesota. But as these businessmen would find out, nothing is ever as easy as it seems.

Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it’s hard to imagine that steam-powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. From the first in 1859 to the last that sank in 1909, Red River steamboats hauled thousands of settlers and millions of tons of freight across the border between the United States and Canada. Although it lasted barely 50 years, the age of the steamboat forged a commercial network between the two countries that exists to this day in the Interstate-29 corridor.

Titans of Idaho Industry | Idaho Experience

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In 1949, Joe Albertson decided to break away from Safeway and start his own grocery store. It became one of the nations largest chain stores.  J.R. Simplot left home at age 14, and dropped out of school. After a string of calculated risks, Simplot managed to build a multi-billion dollar company. Idaho Experience "Titans" looks at the lives of Joe Albertson, and J.R. Simplot to see ways they helped change the state of Idaho. 

Monopoly | Steamboats on the Red

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Find out how, in the remote Red River Valley, a monopoly had developed in the steamboat trade, and two separate attempts were made to provide competition in this video from the Steamboats on the Red series. The first ended when the competitors joined forces and returned the steamboat industry back to a monopoly; the second attempt ended when the larger company sabotaged and sank their new competitor’s boats.

Looking at the shallow twists and turns of the Red River, it’s hard to imagine that steam-powered paddlewheel boats were once the most important transportation link between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winnipeg, Manitoba. From the first in 1859 to the last that sank in 1909, Red River steamboats hauled thousands of settlers and millions of tons of freight across the border between the United States and Canada. Although it lasted barely 50 years, the age of the steamboat forged a commercial network between the two countries that exists to this day in the Interstate-29 corridor.

The Davenport Hotel: Grand Again | Rebuilding a City Landmark

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The Davenport Hotel was the most modern hostelry in the United States when it opened in 1914. It was the first hotel with air conditioning, the first with a pipe organ, and the first with a central vacuum system. 

The Davenport Hotel shut down in 1985. But local entrepreneurs, Walt and Karen Worthy bought the hotel in 2000 and gave it a top-to-bottom renovation. The Davenport is grand again!

With these video and curriculum resources, students will examine the cultural and economic significance of local landmarks within a community.

Building the Erie Canal

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This video segment adapted from American Experience tells the story of how New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton championed the building of an all-water route from New York City to the Great Lakes. Although many felt it was doomed to financial failure, Clinton came up with a new approach to funding a public works project with private investments. In 1825, the 363-mile Erie Canal was completed ahead of schedule and on budget, and forever changed national and international trade in the U.S.

Indian Pride, Economic Development: Part 2

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JuniKae Randall conducts an interview with Lance Morgan, President/CEA of Ho Chunk, Inc. in Nebraska, and a member of the Winnebago tribe, about the impact of casinos and other gaming establishments on reservation economies and culture.

The Bank of North Dakota | Economic Independence

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Learn about the Bank of North Dakota that was created during early 1900s in order to diversify the economy and regain control of its financial future.

Great States | Minnesota Economy

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Learn the history of Minnesota’s economy, from American Indian trade to the state's diverse industries of today.

How Much Does a War Cost? | Georgia Stories

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War is expensive; in addition to munitions and equipment, soldiers need to be paid for their services–and it was no different during the Civil War. Storyteller Peter Bonner recounts tales of Civil War paydays. Because wages were so low, no weapons were allowed out of fear someone would kill the paymaster. Confederate soldiers were paid an average of $12 a month, or about $.39 a day.

Taking the Reins: Women Who Contributed to the Development of the West | Idaho Experience

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This “Taking the Reins” episode of Idaho Experience traces the remarkable paths of two Idaho women: Katherine Caroline Wilkins, born to fortune-seeking pioneers in Oregon Territory, was one of the most successful horse-sellers in the United States. And May Arkwright Hutton became one of the richest women in the American West, using her newfound wealth to promote suffrage and later running for the Idaho Legislature.

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