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Miami and Erie Canal: Map

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Barge General Harrison of Piqua on the canal in the Piqua, Ohio, Historical Area, in July 2006.
Note the captain steering the canal boat and the towing donkey.
The canal is wide enough to permit two barges to pass.


The Miami and Erie Canal was a canal that connected the Ohio River in Cincinnatimarker, Ohiomarker with Lake Eriemarker in Toledo, Ohiomarker. It consisted of 19 aqueducts, three guard locks, and 103 canal locks. Each lock measured by and they collectively raised the canal above Lake Erie and above the Ohio River. The peak of the canal was called the Loramie Summit and extended between New Bremen, Ohiomarker to lock 1-S in Lockingtonmarker, north of Piqua, Ohiomarker. The system consisted of of canal channel and was completed in 1845, at a cost of $8,062,680.07. Boats were towed along the canal using either donkeys or horses walking on a prepared towpath along the bank. The boats typically traveled at a rate of four to five miles per hour (.

An interesting topographical map showing the geography, path, and elevations of the entire canal can be found in the Heritage Museum, located in the building also housing the Shrine of the Holy Relicsmarker, in Maria Stein, Ohiomarker, a community 6 mi (10 km) from the canal and just south of Grand Lake St. Marysmarker.

Grand Lake St. Marysmarker, an artificial lake west of St. Marys, Ohiomarker was originally constructed as a reservoir to supply water for the canal. Lake Loramie in Shelby Countymarker also was constructed as a reservoir for the canal. Indian Lakemarker in Logan Countymarker was greatly enlarged to provide a steadier supply of water for the Sidney feeder. All three lakes are still used for recreation.

Along the canal c.1910


A branch canal was constructed from the Miami and Erie Canal from Middletown, Ohiomarker to Lebanon, Ohiomarker, called the Warren County Canal. This branch was opened in 1840, but remained in operation less than 15 years before being abandoned.

A short branch, the Sidneymarker or Port Jeffersonmarker feeder canal ran up the Miami valley from Lockingtonmarker through Sidney to a dam just upstream from Port Jefferson.

Much of the canal corridor remains a prosperous manufacturing area, with Interstate 75 and railroads providing the transportation rather than the canal.

Construction standards

NOTE: Standards varied by region of the state.
  • water depth.
  • wide at water level.
  • wide towpath in addition to mandated outer slopes.
  • All slopes are horizontal to {{convert|4|ft|m|abbr=on}. perpendicular.
  • The canal could handle boats up to long and wide.


Copies of the original survey plat maps for the construction of both Ohio canals are available on-line from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Decline and abandonment

Completed just before most of the railroads in Ohio were built, the canal competed with railroads through much of its useful life. Ice in the winter, as well as the slowness of the boats, made it less efficient than railroads, especially for perishable goods and passenger traffic. The canal was a cheaper means for carrying bulk cargoes, such as grain and salted pork, though by 1906, the canal had largely ceased to operate. A catastrophic flood of the Great Miami Rivermarker in 1913 and the subsequent flood control measures constructed by the Miami Conservancy District destroyed much of the canal infrastructure along the southern portion of the route where it paralleled the Great Miami Rivermarker.

One of the original locks (#17) is located in the Carillon Historical Parkmarker in Dayton, Ohio. An unrestored, but complete lock (#15) is located just off Main Street (State Route 571) in Tipp Citymarker. Remains of the Excello lock are still located in the Butler Countymarker Excello Locks Park near the intersection of State Route 73 and South Hamilton Middletown Road in Lemon Townshipmarker.

Much of the original towpath served as the right-of-way for the Cincinnati and Lake Erie Railroad, an electric interurban streetcar that operated until 1940. Part of the right-of-way was converted to the Wright-Lockland Highway (now part of Interstate 75).

From 1920 to 1925 six million dollars was spent to use the bed of the canal to build a downtown subway in Cincinnati. The surface was paved over to form Central Parkway. Funds ran out before the Cincinnati Subway was completed.

Location

The Deep Cut as seen in 2008.
A steep climb down is needed to reach the canal level from the parking area nearby.
Interior of one of the Lockington Locks
Urban redevelopment has eliminated the beginnings and ends of the canal. However, on the canal's south end there is a drained section located in St. Bernard, Ohiomarker's Ludlow Park where the canal bed is still visible. The canal remains watered (and theoretically navigable for canoes or kayaks) in the rural region between Delphos, Ohiomarker and St. Marys, Ohiomarker. South of St. Mary's, it has degraded to form a shallow ditch in most places, though some ruined locks remain. Driving from north to south along State Route 66, one sees pieces of the original canal in Delphos, at a small historic park located at the "Deep Cut," in St. Marysmarker, Lock Two (a hamlet mostly consisting of period brick buildings), New Bremenmarker, Minstermarker, Fort Loramiemarker, and Piquamarker. The Miami and Erie Canal Deep Cutmarker is a U.S. National Historic Landmark near Spencerville that was designated in 1964. Perhaps the most interesting is the Piqua Historical Area where there is a replica canal boat and other canal-related items. The Delphos Canal Commission also has a canal museum located on Main Street.

A detailed 28 page visitor's guide booklet to the Miami & Erie Canal Heritage Corridor, including numbered tour map, stories, photos and descriptions of canal features, local attractions, museums, parks, and hiking trails is available online from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

In addition, visitors to Providence Metropark, near Grand Rapids in the northwest part of the state, are able to ride a replica canal boat as it goes through lock number 44. Lock 44 is an original Miami and Erie canal lock and Providence Metropark is the only place in Ohio in which visitors are able to travel completely through a functioning canal lock. Other sites of interest are listed.

The northern portion of the towpath (from Fort Laramie to Delphos and beyond) is used as a hiking trail.

The massive west abutment of the Old Nine-mile Aqueduct over the Great Miami River is still present ca. upstream of the Taylorsville Dam east of Vandalia (Montgomery County). The aqueduct was destroyed by the Great 1913 Flood. The abutment terminates a fairly intact canal segment that extends at least north to Tipp City. This segment includes an intact concrete weir near the abandoned Vandalia water treatment plant (aka "Tadmore Station") and a ruined lock (#16, "Picayune") about halfway to Tipp City along Canal Road.

A map showing the disposition of the canal lands is available online from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Cities and towns along the canal

The following is a list of towns and cities (arranged North to South) along the Miami and Erie Canal.



References



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