Description: Dated ca. 1935-1940, this photograph shows the Miami and Erie Canal 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. Image ID: SA1039AV_B02F06_017 Subjects: Canals Ohio; Miami and Erie Canal (Ohio)--History; Dayton (Ohio)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Geography and Natural Resources; Transportation--Ohio--History. Places: Dayton (Ohio); Montgomery County (Ohio)
Description: Caption reads: "The 'St. Louis.' End of an Era. Cargo boat built at James Morrison boat yards, Dayton, 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. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: SA1039AV_B02F06_001_1 Subjects: Cargo ships; Transportation--Ohio--History.; Rivers; Shipping industry; Boats and Boating; Ohio--History--Pictorial works; Federal Writers' Project Places: Dayton (Ohio); Montgomery County (Ohio)
Description: Caption reads: "Five Avenues of Transportation South of Dayton – The Steam Train, the Electric Traction Cars, Canal Boat, Macadamized Turnpike, and Miami River. October 22, 1911." At the start of the nineteenth century, Ohio was isolated geographically. The Appalachian Mountains on the east, Lake Erie to the north, and the Ohio River to the south, isolated the state from its neighbors. During the nineteenth century, new transportation systems formed, granting Ohioans easier access to all parts of the United States of America. In the first decades of the 1800s, turnpikes originated. Water travel became easier with the advent of steamboats. Beginning in the 1820s, canals provided Ohioans with a cheaper and faster form of travel. In the 1840s and 1850s, railroads emerged, allowing Ohio residents to ship their products to market much more easily and quickly. With the start of the twentieth century, several new transportation systems, including automobiles, trucks, and airplanes, emerged. From Zane's Trace, to the Ohio and Erie Canal, to the Wright brothers, Ohioans were at the forefront of all of these transportation innovations. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: SA1039AV_B02F07_018_1 Subjects: Canals--Ohio; Miami and Erie Canal (Ohio)--History; Dayton (Ohio)--Buildings, structures, etc.--Pictorial works; Railroads; Roads; Geography and Natural Resources; Transportation--Ohio--History.; Ohio--History--Pictorial works; Federal Writers' Project Places: Dayton (Ohio); Montgomery County (Ohio)
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