[graphic] Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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Cascade Locks
Historic District
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Mustill Store, Cascade Locks Historic District
Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, photo by Jeff Wiinstel

Located immediately northwest of downtown Akron, the Cascade Locks Historic District is a ravine that opens up to a flat plane where the Ohio and Erie Canal empties into the Little Cuyahoga River. This area of the canal included the steepest grade of the entire 304 miles between Lake Erie to the Ohio River. The district was the site of many industrial operations during the 19th and early 20th centuries, fueled by the abundant hydraulic power created by the steep descent of the runoff from the parallel Crosby’s Mill Race. Along with providing an industrial power source, canal operations provided ample time and traffic for commerce. With each lock, canal traffic stopped. There were 21 locks in the Akron area, and it took boats six hours to get through the two miles of canal. A popular establishment for canalers was located in the Cascade Locks area. Though it originally functioned as a cigar box plant with its own mill race, the Mustill Store was best known as a “swilling place” across from Lock 15.

The 1913 flood brought an end to the canal. Several locks were dynamited to prevent inundating the downtown area. The most damaged area of the canal included the cascade locks. The canal commission determined the system was not salvageable. Water from the Summit Lakes now flows unimpeded over the locks and into the Little Cuyahoga River. There are many varied buildings and sites within the district including the Mustill Store—now a visitor center and canal museum. The district also includes the site of the original mills of Ferdinand Schumacher—founder of Quaker Oats; two railroad bridges spanning the gorge; a steam plant and two rubber factories; numerous lock and waste way ruins. A foot path currently runs alongside the locks. The Ohio and Erie Canal towpath hike/bike trail is complete throughout the cascades Lock Park and a bridge connect the trail from Harvard Avenue in Cuyahoga County to the Southern Boundary of urban Akron in Summit County.

The Cascade Locks Historic District is roughly bounded by North, Howard, Innerbelt Rt. 59 and the canal from Locks 10-16, in Akron. The visitor center in Mustill Store is open April-October weekends only from 10:00pm to 5:00pm. Visit the Cascade Locks Parks Association website or call 330-374-5625 for further information.

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