Monday, January 16, 2012

Miami & Erie Canal

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Construction of the Miami & Erie Canal began in 1825 and was completed in 1845. At the completion of construction, the canal stretched from Lake Erie in Toledo to the Ohio River in Cincinnati. The canal was close to 300 miles long with 105 locks and ran through 35 towns along the way. Canal boats ran up and down the stretch and were pulled by mules or horses along towpaths and carried cargo and passengers to points along the way. By the early 1900’s the canal ceased operation due to the building of railroads which proved to be a more efficient means of transportation.

In Cincinnati, the Miami & Erie Canal followed the path of what is now Central Parkway to Eggleston Avenue and met the Ohio River at what is now the entrance to Sawyer Point. The entrance of Sawyer Point was built to resemble a lock along the canal and the entry wall has a representation of the locks and towns along the canal (above).

When the Miami & Erie Canal was discontinued it was drained and work began on a subway system in Cincinnati. This work took place between 1920 and 1925 but stopped short of completion due to a lack of funding. Although the subway never saw completion, its tunnels still exist under Central Parkway.

North of Cincinnati, parts of the canal and its locks have been preserved and can still be seen from the hiking trails, scenic byways, and parks.

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