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Miami-Erie Canal

Miam-Erie Canal started with a groundbreaking July 21, 1825, on Daniel Doty's farm, then south of Middletown. There is a marker at the site at the northeast corner of Verity Parkway and Yankee Road in Middletown. Many of the canal workers were Irish immigrants and a Middletown neighborhood east of the canal became known as Little Dublin during the construction period. The first leg of the 250-mile Miami Canal (also known as the Miami-Erie and Miami & Erie) was built south from Middletown because of the ease of construction.

July 1, 1827, the first water flowed into the canal from Abner Enoch's mill race north of Middletown. By August 1827, trips between Hamilton and Middletown were possible. It reached Cincinnati in December 1827. The first run between Cincinnati and Dayton was completed in January 1829. By 1845, the canal connected Cincinnati on the Ohio River and Toledo on Lake Erie. The canal entered Hamilton via the Hamilton Basin (see separate entry). The canal's route of about 25 miles through Butler County touched, from north to south, Middletown, Amanda, Excello, LeSourdsville, Hamilton, Port Union, Rialto and Crescentville. According to an 1859 report, there were 10 locks and four aqueducts (Amanda, LeSourdsville, Crawford's Run in Hamilton and Crescentville) in Butler County. The final blow for the Ohio canal system -- which had been in decline since the growth of railroads in the 1850s -- came in the form of the March 1913 flood. The ceremonial closing was Nov. 2, 1929, at the site of the 1825 groundbreaking in Middletown. The legal end came in May 1931 when Gov. George White signed a bill presenting the canal land to the state for development of a super highway. In the 1930s, Erie Highway in Hamilton and Verity Parkway in Middletown were built over the former canal.

Patterson Boulevard in Dayton and Central Parkway in Cincinnati also were constructed over the former right-of-way. "In studying the history of the canal," says a web site of the Middletown Historical Society, "three names [are] used at different eras of history. The canal began in 1825 as the Miami Canal, and was to run from Cincinnati to Dayton, which it did. Then the state decided to extend the canal as settlement progressed northward in Ohio. The next section was therefore known as the Miami Extension. In 1845 when the entire canal opened to navigation from Cincinnati to Toledo, the State of Ohio, in order to avoid all this confusion of names for the 250-mile waterway decided to officially name it the Miami-Eric Canal, which included the Wabash-Erie from the junction to the Lake, The Indiana canal went all the way to Evansville [on the Ohio River], a long, wandering canal. In all, this really produced a waterway over 700 miles long. It was the longest canal ever built in the United States." Also see Port Middletown, dedicated in 2004.


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