: Dated ca. 1935-1940, this photograph shows a man standing in a canal, leaning on a cane, at an unknown location in Ohio. During the late 1810s, Governor Thomas Worthington and Governor Ethan Allen Brown both supported internal improvements, especially canals. Both men believed that Ohioans needed quick and easy access to the Ohio River and to Lake Erie if they were to profit financially. In 1822, the Ohio legislature realized the importance of internal improvements and created a new Ohio Canal Commission. The Canal Commission eventually recommended a route starting at Lake Erie, passing through the Cuyahoga Valley, the Muskingum Valley, the Licking Valley, and then to the Ohio River along the Scioto Valley. The Commission also recommended a western route along the Miami and Maumee Valleys. By 1833, the Ohio and Erie Canal was complete, followed twelve years later by the Miami and Erie Canal. Once completed, thirty-three of Ohio's eighty-eight counties either had portions of canals running through them or quarries to mine rock for construction. The canals had many advantages to Ohioans. Most importantly, the cost to ship goods from the East Coast to Ohio and vice versa declined tremendously from 125 dollars per ton of goods to twenty-five dollars per ton of goods. Most canals remained in operation in Ohio until the late 1800s, their demise due in part to competition from the much speedier 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_024 Subjects
: Canals--Ohio; Transportation--Ohio; Geography and Natural Resources; Ohio--History--Pictorial works; Federal Writers' Project Places