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100 Years Ago


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Opening the Canal

horse pulling canal boat opening

The Miami & Erie Canal was completed from Dayton to Cincinnati in 1829. The Sidney Feeder was finished from Port Jefferson to Sidney in 1841. The entire canal was linked to Lake Erie by 1845. The arrival of the first canal boat in each community must have been quite an event. The boat General Harrison (a working replica can be seen at Johnston Farm in Piqua) was scheduled to be the first to arrive in Piqua from Dayton in July 1837. The boat, with General William Henry Harrison on board, went only to Troy due to insufficient water in the canal between Troy and Piqua. General Harrison and other dignitaries rode to Piqua the next day. They were greeted by a huge crowd.

There were some disappointments as well. The editor of the "Sidney Journal" on January 27, 1905, recalled the reaction of the large crowd in 1827 as it gathered on Main Street in Cincinnati to watch water being let into the newly completed canal for the first time. "They were woefully disappointed, for the water soaked at once into the fresh earth, and it was four months before it puddled sufficiently to hold water enough to float a boat."

The 1953 Sesquicentennial edition of "The Sidney Daily News" quoted Henry Sherman of Ft. Loramie, who had talked to many old residents in town, about the arrival of the first canal boat in Ft. Loramie. "It stuck in the mud south of town and was visited by the whole population. Its arrival was hailed with great joy."

 'Canal' segment written in December, 1998 by Rich Wallace 

 

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