The paper examines how the secular export commodity price boom during the first globalisation era causally changed local development in the area where the actual primary production occurred. To overcome a lack of historical development measures, it employs information on temple-building and size. To enable a causal interpretation, it exploits (i) world market-determined rice prices, export income of the major trading partner, and international rice price convergence, and (ii) the canal network plan to construct exogenous globalisation and local infrastructure variables. It finds that the number of temples, temple size, and ordination hall size significantly increased as trade grew, particularly more in the subdistricts that had access to the irrigation canal network, which also acted as a transport channel. The finding shows that openness becomes significantly more meaningful to local development when supported by the right mediating infrastructure.