The First Americans
You are standing at the North Terminus of the renewed Portage Path, which formed the vital link in the shortest and best water route between the great lake to the north and the rivers flowing south. The trail was created and reversed by the First Americans, perhaps 2000 years ago by the Mound Builders whose work still stands 2-1/4 miles north of here. Later the Erie Indians occupied this land until the late 1500's. Other tribes, notably the Delaware, moved to this area in the 1700's to establish camps and villages, including a major village, "Cuyahoga Town," here at Old Portage where two important Indian trails intersected.
The White People Came
The Portage Path was an important landmark to the white explorers possibly as early as the French in the 1600's. The portage appeared on an English map of 1728. James Smith wrote of traveling the path in 1756 while a captive of the Delawares. The Treaty of Fort McIntosh in 1785 set the new western boundary of the United States along the Portage Path. The Treaty of Greenville in 1795 opened the land for white settlement in the Western Reserve east of the portage and Moses Warren surveyed the path in 1797. Land to the west was surveyed after the 1805 Treaty of Fort Industry and today local property is still recorded as either east or west of the Portage Path.
The sculptures at each terminus honoring the first Americans were created by an American Indian, Peter Jones, a member of the Onondaga tribe.