Miami-Erie Canal

Miami-Erie Canal near Dayton Public Library

Miami-Erie Canal near Dayton Public Library

The Miami and Erie Canal was constructed from 1825 to 1845 and connected the Ohio River at Cincinnati with Lake Erie near Toledo. The portion of the canal between Cincinnati and Dayton was completed in 1829. On January 25, 1829, the first two canal boats—the Gov. Brown (after Gov. Ethan A. Brown who had championed Ohio canal projects), followed by the Forrer (after canal engineer Samuel Forrer)—arrived in Dayton, Ohio. The canal as a whole enjoyed its greatest use during the 1840s.

[Patterson Boulevard, formerly the Miami-Erie Canal, looking north to Dayton, 1962]

[Patterson Boulevard, formerly the Miami-Erie Canal, looking north to Dayton, 1962]

Soon, however, a faster, more efficient method of transportation overshadowed the Ohio canals: the railroad. By the late 19th century, the Miami-Erie Canal had been abandoned. In 1927, after many years of non-use, the Miami-Erie Canal route in Dayton was filled in. Patterson Boulevard now occupies the former canal’s curving route through downtown Dayton.

Here are some great photos of the remaining portions of the canal, as well as Patterson Boulevard, from the Dayton Daily News Archive:

More information can be found in these resources at Wright State University Special Collections & Archives:

  • Dayton Daily News Archive, DDNBW Files, Box 750, Canals — Miami Erie (3 folders).
  • Canal Society of Ohio Collection (MS-219).
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