University of California Transportation Center
Promoters and Investors In Antebellum America: The Spread of Plank Road Fever
- Author(s): Klein, Daniel
- Majewski, John
- et al.
Plank road fever struck New York when George Geddes and other promoters greatly exaggerated the durability of the wooden surfacing. Within a few years Americans built hundreds of plank roads across the nation. The episode highlights how promoters diffused investment information in an era with that had few institutions to safeguard against egregious mistakes. The plank road story also gives insight into the motivations of promoters, who worked for rewards other than direct monetary returns.