(side A) Sponsored 1959 by The Engineers Club of Columbus
Columbus Feeder Canal
Col. Nathaniel McLean removed the first earth for the Columbus Feeder Canal not far from this site, April 27, 1827. The earth was wheeled away by Ralph Osborn and Henry Brown, auditor and treasurer of the state, amid the cheers of a thousand Columbus and Franklin County citizens. Four years later on September 23, the first canal boat, the "General Brown" arrived here. It had been launched in Circleville and, traveling at a rate of almost four miles per hour, had taken two days to reach Columbus. Two days later, the first freight or line boats arrived amid much enthusiasm. A national salute was fired and Col. William Doherty, welcomed the captains of the boats. On their return south, a number of ladies and gentlemen rode the boats to the Four Mile
The Columbus Feeder Canal was eleven miles long and joined the main Ohio-Erie Canal at Lockbourne. It provided Columbus and
Franklin County with badly needed transportation and water power. Many mills and factories once lined the course. Boats ceased
operating on the Columbus Feeder Canal in 1904.
The Ohio-Erie Canal
Amide much fanfare and celebration, work was begun on the Ohio- Erie Canal. It was destined to be the first of three canals to link the two greatest waterway systems in the United States — the Ohio-Misissippi and the Great Lakes. The place was the Licking Summit near Newark, Ohio: the date July 4, 1825. Gov. Dewitt Clinton of New York and Gov. Jeremiah Morrow of Ohio turned the first earth of the "big ditch."
Two years later to the day, the canal boat "State of Ohio" made the first trip from Akron to Cleveland on the northern section of the canal. In 1831, the entire 331 mile system, including 25 miles of feeder canals, was finished. Corn, wheat, oats, tobacco, flour, and pork then began to move in increasing quantities to New York and New Orleans markets. In return, salt and numerous manufactured articles were received to boom the state's economy. Passenger travel was also brisk on the comfortable packet boats.
But with the coming of the railroads, the canals' days were numbered. By the early 1900's, the entire system had been abandoned. A colorful and important chapter in the Ohio story had come to an end.