George Washington's concern over standardization of rifles for the Continental Army led to the formation of national armory and to his selection of Springfield as its site. Completed in 1794, it was the first national armory in the United States. Like the Robbins and Lawrence Armory, the Springfield Armory was an outstanding machining center for the design and mass production, employing notable engineers such as Thomas Blanchard (1788-1864), Thomas Warner, and Cyrus Buckland.
These canals and locks are a part of the first extensive system of canal and river navigation works undertaken in the United States. The idea for the canal was proposed by George Washington, when, as an engineer, surveyor and military emissary for Virginia, he saw the need for a trade route west beyond the Allegheny Mountains. In order to do create this route, it was necessary to try to tame the Potomac River which was a wild, unruly stream which only the hardiest of rivermen ever attempted.