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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6 Responses to Miami-Erie Canal

  1. ed l een says:

    were can I get a book on the history of cansls in dayton,ohio . thanks ed leen

  2. A note regarding the canal in Dayton. In the various county histories mention is made of Christian Forrer’s “Montgomery House” at the corner of 3rd and Canal Street. It burnt down in 1867, being built by Philip Keifer, a carpenter, in 1841. It appears that Canal Street is today’s Springfield Street and thus Forrer’s hotel was either at the corner of Webb and 3rd, or eastward a little further at Springfield.

    On Google Earth do a search for East 2nd Street, Dayton, Ohio. Just where the red colored “A” shows (a southern curving street) was the original canal. Just where the street, heading westward, straightens out you will see Crane Street. According to the 1875 atlas the canal ran between Crane and 2nd in the 11th Ward.

    From the same curved portion of E. 2nd St., heading east, the canal meandered parallel with 3rd St. before eventually heading northward.

    It should be noted that the section I have described above is not the main canal itself. This is the offshoot that served the downtown of Dayton, the main canal purportedly being further eastward. Admittedly, these comments have not been verified against a book, just the atlas of 1875.

    A. Wayne Webb

  3. Thomas R Pedtke says:


    I am coordinating a group studying the baker family and their migration to Ohio in 1805. There were few roads at that time. The earliest from Cincinnati to Dayton was Mad River Road. A segment is still Mad River Road from David Road in Kettering to 725 in Centerville. I cannot seem to find a map of this historic road. Would you have one? Did it recede the canal paths on the Miami Erie Canal?

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