: This image is a photograph of an engraved illustration of the Miami River Canal, which was a section of the larger Miami and Erie Canal system completed in 1830. The image is of the Dayton aqueduct crossing, ca. 1842. Aqueducts were constructed to transport waters of the Miami and Erie Canal over rivers and streams.
New York's Erie Canal, completed in 1825, dramatically altered life in Ohio. Thousands of settlers utilized the canal to move to Ohio. Cities in northern Ohio, especially Cleveland and Toledo, grew quickly and became important ports. Farmers and industrialists in northern Ohio now had a relatively cheap and quick means of transporting their products to market. The success of the Erie Canal also prompted the Ohio government to invest in canals within Ohio, most notably the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Miami and Erie Canal, both of which connected Lake Erie with the Ohio River.
Constructed in stages between 1825 and 1845, the Miami and Erie Canal linked Lake Erie (at Toledo) to the Ohio River (at Cincinnati). At Junction, Ohio, the Miami and Erie Canal intersected with the Wabash and Erie Canal, which provided a link to Evansville, Indiana.
The canal system greatly reduced the cost of transporting products and people. The cost of shipping goods from the East Coast to Ohio and vice versa dripped from $125 per ton of goods to $25 per ton. It took eighty hours to travel from Cleveland to Portsmouth along the Ohio and Erie Canal. Although travel on horseback was much faster, it also cost a great deal more. Passage on the canal boat was $1.70 per person.
Most canals remained in operation in Ohio until the late 1800s. By the 1850s, however, canals were losing business to the railroads, which offered several advantages over the canals. Although railroads cost more to ship people and goods, they could deliver people and items much more quickly than the canals. Railroads also were not limited by a water source, as were canals. Because of these advantages, railroads quickly supplanted the canals.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL06117 Subjects
: Canals--Ohio--History--19th century; Miami Canal (Ohio); Miami and Erie Canal (Ohio)--History; Dayton (Ohio); Montgomery County (Ohio); Miami Canal (Ohio); Ohio Economy--Transportation and Development Places
: Dayton (Ohio); Montgomery County (Ohio)