Swiss American Historical Society Review

Swiss American Historical Society Review


Konrad Basler


Highway, Route, Emigrant


On October 12 I drove out to the magnificent autumn forests

by Pennsylvania. I chose highway 22, a route I had been familiar

with since the days at Lehigh University. Once more I was struck

by the speed and the distances mastered nowadays. Unlike us, the

Dorlikon emigrants had measured the distances they covered by the

hour. Carolina, for example, was '2200 hours on sea' from Rotterdam.

In order really to appreciate our modern standards of living, one has

to visualize what since then pioneers have achieved in America- not

only the independence from the British Crown, but also the

urbanization of land through such waterways as the Erie Canal, or,

later, the rapid progress in research and development. My training at

Lehigh University, for example, would never have been possible had

it not been for generations of Europeans working towards a common

goal-Europeans, among whom some might have stemmed from the

Canton of Zurich, or even from Dorlikon.