[graphic] Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
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Both trains and boats made their paths along the Ohio and Erie Canal; the latter replacing the former as a mode for transporting goods

Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, National Park Service

The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places in partnership with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor, Ohio Historic Preservation Office and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), proudly invite you to visit the Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor Travel Itinerary. The history of the human presence in this region stretches back to the Ice Age. The first Euro-American settlement in the Cuyahoga Valley came in 1786 when Moravian missionary John Heckewelder built a mission he called “Pilgerruh” along the river, but then abandoned it the following year. The Schoenbrunn Site, located today in New Philadelphia, is a reminder of the Moravian attempt to build utopian colonies in Ohio.

Current view of the Ohio and Erie Canal
Courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, photo by Jeff Winstel

Canal building in the United States reached a feverish pace following the opening of New York’s 363-mile Erie Canal in 1825 at a cost of $10 million. In 1822, the governor appointed a commission to identify potential canal routes in Ohio. The Ohio Legislature authorized construction of the “Ohio and Erie Canal” (Cleveland to Portsmouth) and the “Miami Canal” (Cincinnati to Dayton) in 1825. From Cleveland, the Ohio and Erie Canal route proceeded south along the Cuyahoga River, over the Portage Summit (at the future site of Akron) to the Tuscarawas, west to the Licking, then to the Scioto at Columbus, and finally south to the Ohio River town of Portsmouth. The canal route totalled 308 miles, crossing 13 counties stretching from northeast to central and south central Ohio. The prosperity brought to localities can be seen today in the Canal Fulton Historic District, the Clinton Ohio and Erie Canal Historic District, and the Hudson Historic District.

Located in Akron, Ohio, Stan Hywet Hall is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in America--wealth and population followed the construction of the canal

Photo courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS, OHIO, 77-AKRO, 5-149)

Not only did the Ohio and Erie Canal tie the state to the rest of the nation, but it helped open the interior of Ohio to other markets in the Gulf of Mexico and the east coast. Later, as the railroad began to replace the canals in transporting goods, other communities, such as the Limbach Block Historic District, prospered. The Valley Railroad Historic District displays the importance of railroads linking Ohio's commerce. The city of Cleveland, designed in the late 1790s to resemble a New England town, as seen in the Cleveland Public Square, grew to a major transportation hub, and at one time was the sixth largest city in the country. The Lower Prospect--Huron Historic District reflects this era of wealth, and the East Fourth Street Historic District reflects the history of the urban living from the 1890s through the 1930s when cafes and theaters catered to Cleveland's population.

Sailors and Soldiers Monument, Cleveland Public Square
Courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, photo by Janet Burke

The Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor travel itinerary offers several ways to discover the places important in the region's history. Each highlighted place features a brief description of its historic significance, color photographs and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find links to four essays: Transportation, Ethnicity, Industry and Preservation. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, the itinerary links to regional and local websites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed if you plan to visit the area in person.

The Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor Travel Itinerary is part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage visits to historic places throughout the Nation. The National Register of Historic Places partners with communities, regions and heritage areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan trips by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and providing public accessibility information for each featured site. The Ohio and Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor is the 41st National Register travel itinerary in this series. The National Register of Historic Places hopes you enjoy this virtual tour. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

 [graphic] Rotating Postcard Images
 [graphic] Link to Transportation Essay  [graphic] Link to Industry Essay
 [graphic] Link to Preservation  Essay
 [graphic] Link to Ethnicity Essay

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Essays: Transportation | Ethnicity| Industry| Preservation

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