: Dated ca. 1935-1940, this photograph shows a view of the Miami and Erie Canal from Jefferson Street Bridge in Dayton, Ohio. Work began on the Miami and Erie Canal in 1825 and was completed in 1845. During the peak of construction, more than four thousand laborers worked on the canal, generally earning 30 cents per day plus room and board. Many recent immigrants to the United States, especially the Irish, survived thanks to jobs on the canals. Other people, like the residents of the communal society at Zoar, also helped construct canals to assist the survival of their community. Many of Ohio’s communities today, including Akron, began as towns for the canal workers. Most canals remained in operation in Ohio until the late 1800s. There is a short stretch in the Muskingum Valley near Zanesville still in operation today. By the 1850s, however, canals were losing business to the railroads.
This photograph is one of the many visual materials collected for use in the Ohio Guide. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration by executive order to create jobs for the large numbers of unemployed laborers, as well as artists, musicians, actors, and writers. The Federal Arts Program, a sector of the Works Progress Administration, included the Federal Writers’ Project, one of the primary goals of which was to complete the America Guide series, a series of guidebooks for each state which included state history, art, architecture, music, literature, and points of interest to the major cities and tours throughout the state. Work on the Ohio Guide began in 1935 with the publication of several pamphlets and brochures. The Reorganization Act of 1939 consolidated the Works Progress Administration and other agencies into the Federal Works Administration, and the Federal Writers’ Project became the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio. The final product was published in 1940 and went through several editions. The Ohio Guide Collection consists of 4,769 photographs collected for use in Ohio Guide and other publications of the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio from 1935-1939.
View on Ohio Memory.
: SA1039AV_B02F06_015 Subjects
: Canals--Ohio; Miami and Erie Canal (Ohio); Dayton (Ohio); Geography and Natural Resources; Transportation--Ohio Places
: Dayton (Ohio); Montgomery County (Ohio)