As a result of the success of the Erie Canal in New York, the Ohio General Assembly decided to build two canals to promote business and travel between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. The Miami & Erie Canal, built in three stages, united Cincinnati with Toledo on the west side of the State; the Ohio & Erie connected Portsmouth with Cleveland on the east side. Construction of the Miami & Erie Canal began in 1825 and opened for traffic in 1845. Because the 103 locks along the 274 mile route required an abundant water supply, several feeder lakes were established. One of these feeders was Lewistown Reservoir created from natural springs and shallow lakes in the area. Construction began in 1851. Horse- drawn wooden-scoops and a large number of mostly immigrant workers moved tons of dirt to build the embankments. Fallen timbers and stones from nearby quarries were used for reinforcements. Workers received a salary of one dollar a day plus room and board and a shot of whisky. Finding the original reservoir would not supply enough water for the canal, several enlargement projects were undertaken. The expanded reservoir covered 6,344 acres and was completed in 1860. Various historical resources suggest the cost for initial construction and subsequent enlargements to be approximately
$506,000. The construction of the canal route through virgin forests,
swamps and shallow lakes fostered many engineering marvels. At Troy, a unique, twin arched stone culvert was built to allow a tributary of the Great Miami River to actually flow under the canal. The highest point of the canal system, the Loramie Summit, near Lockington, needed to be traversed. A series of stair-stepped locks were built which raised or lowered the level of the water 67 feet over a distance of one half mile so barge traffic could pass. Transit time through these canal locks took several hours. Because traders and travelers used this time for business or pleasure, Lockington and other communities along the canal flourished. Construction of the new more efficient railroads brought about the decline and eventual demise of the canal. The Lewistown Reservoir was discontinued as a canal feeder in 1896. In 1898 the Lewistown Reservoir had become a popular resort and destination. The Ohio General Assembly set aside the reservoir as a public park to be known as "Indian Lake." In 1908, the Waste Weir Bulkhead (known today as the "spillway") on the south side of the lake was completely rebuilt in concrete by T.H. Watsonat a cost of $29,364.80. The spillway is scheduled for replacement in 2017 with an estimated cost this time of $6.900.000.