In the 1850s, when European settlers first arrived in the Puget sound, they found a complex network of seventeen villages occupied by the Duwamish people (Seattle being their chief), with each village constructed around a communal longhouse and with a highly developed local fishing industry in full swing. There was even a hospital of sorts in one of these centres. The area administered in this fashion equated to a country the size of Belgium today. These people they summarily disregarded as "primitive" and in the next three decades the settlers set about relegating the original inhabitants of the area to landless, propertyless "pests" who faced a choice of participating in the culture and industries started by the Europeans or move out. Their network, and the physical elements which represented it, were not used as a logical starting point for further development, but instead were rapidly obliterated. Ironically, over time, the developing European culture in the region mirrored in many ways that which it had displaced, thereby demonstrating the practicality and logic its disregarded predecessor once possessed.
Given that the description of Duwamish society so closely resembled that of Norwegian coastal inhabitants right up to the development of a comprehensive road system (quite recently) and that this ancient system is regarded as the forerunner to the maritime trading centres established by the Vikings (the basis, for example, of the development of the mighty Hanseatic League as well as a network of coastal cities still prospering from trade in Europe), it can be argued that the European settlers effectively arrested a process which, without interference, might have developed in similar fashion and inferred great wealth on its practitioners.
While not being a great fan of the "what if" school of historical speculation, it is intriguing to wonder how many other examples history provides of a culture with everything apparently heading in the right direction being effectively usurped and replaced by one which was probably inferior in many ways. Even to the extent that the original culture has effectively been so dismissed that it is all but forgotten?