About This Lesson
The lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Ohio & Erie Canal" (with photographs), and park documents. The Ohio & Erie Canal was written by Deborah Ayers, former Park Ranger at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The lesson was edited by Fay Metcalf, education consultant, and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in teaching units on transportation or the economic development of the western frontier in the early-to-mid 1800s. Students will practice the skills of observation, analysis, research, and writing.
Time period: 19th century
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To describe the construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
2) To compare the economy of Ohio before and after the completion of the canal system.
3) To identify industries that were made possible by the construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
4) To analyze the development of transportation routes in their own community and determine how these routes affected their local economy.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) one map of the canal system;
2) two readings about the construction and operation of the canal and its impact on Ohio;
3) two diagrams of a canal cross section and parts of a lock gate;
3) six photos, both historical and modern, of different aspects of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
Visiting the site
The Ohio & Erie Canal extended 308 miles from north to south through the east-central parts of Ohio. One of the longest remaining watered sections of the canal runs through the National Park Service’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Canal Visitor Center is located on Canal Road in Valley View, Ohio. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is open daily, dawn to dusk. All visitor centers are closed January 1, Thanksgiving Day, and December 25. For additional information, write the Superintendent, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 15610 Vaughn Road, Brecksville, OH 44141, or visit the park's Web site.