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100 Years Ago


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Canal Index Page

The operation of the canal spanned just 88 years, from the ceremonies to celebrate the beginning of construction in 1825, to the abandonment of the canal after the disastrous flood of 1913.  The canal was built in three stages: the Miami Canal from Cincinnati to Dayton, the Miami Extension Canal which extended from Dayton to the Wabash & Erie Canal at Junction, Ohio (including the portion in Shelby County, Ohio), and the Wabash & Erie Canal, which was built by the state of Indiana and connected Lake Erie to Terre Haute, Indiana. An act of the Ohio legislature in 1849 named the entire system the Miami & Erie Canal.

The canal entered the county southwest of Lockington, following Loramie Lockington Dam in 1998Creek for much of the way, with an aqueduct carrying the waters of the canal across the creek south of Lockington. Three miles to the north, the canal entered the small community of New Bern, turned west for a short distance, and then headed northward again. The canal passed through Newport, Fort Loramie, Minster, and then New Bremen.

The highest point along the route between Cincinnati and Toledo was a plateau called the 'Loramie Summit,' beginning at Lockington and ending at New Bremen. The water flowed south to the Queen City from Lockington, and from New Bremen north to Lake Erie. Port Jefferson and Sidney were connected to the canal by the Sidney Feeder, an extension of the canal designed to bring water from the Great Miami River at Port Jefferson to Lockington.  

The entire Miami & Erie canal took 45 years to build. Over the 224 mile route, 103 locks, 19 aqueducts, and 3 reservoirs were constructed. With the addition of feeder canals, such as the Sidney Feeder, over 300 miles of canals were built. The total cost of the project was over 8 million dollars. Construction and operation of the Sidney Feeder had a tremendous economic impact on Sidney and Port Jefferson. When north-south and east-west railroads were built through Sidney by 1856, however, the importance of the canal to the county began to decline. The great flood of 1913 washed out major sections of the canal, effectively ending this important era of Shelby County, Ohio’s history. 

OVERVIEW
Historical Background
Effect on Local Commerce
Demise of the Canal

BUILDING THE CANAL
Construction of the Canal
Building the Canal in Shelby County
Making the Canal Locks
Water Sources
Culverts and Aqueducts
Financing the Construction
Workers Who Built the Canal

COMMUNITIES ALONG THE CANAL
Fort Loramie and Newport
Lockington
Port Jefferson
Towns that Never Were

The 1913 Flood
From the Sidney Journal

GETTING A CANAL
Before the Canal
Beginning of the Miami Canal
Lobbying for the Canal Locally

OPERATING THE CANAL
Opening of the Canal
Canal Operations
Freight Traffic
Passenger Traffic
Keeping the Canal in Operation





BIBLIOGRAPHY

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