Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Look of Commerce.....How Times Change

During our trip through southern Central Ohio, we traveled through the village of Lockville in western Fairfield County. Lockville is one of the few places with three locks that were used on the Ohio-Erie canal.

The locks were used to raise and lower barges as they made their way either from Lake Erie to the Ohio River or from the river to the lake.

Ohio's 1000-mile network of navigable canals, were constructed between 1825 and 1847, and provided a system of economical transportation where none had previously existed. The canals opened what was an isolated wildness into an era of commerce and even new riches and wealth. It was easier, quicker and more economical to pull the cargo via horse drawn barges via water rather than try to cover the trip via land. The canals were an important mode of transportation until the trains began arriving about the time of the Civil War. After the war, much of the canal land was operated by private individuals and coporations who sold water for irrigation and manufacturing uses. There were two problems. First, canal traffic continued to dwindle and the private care takers allowed the canals to generally fall into ruin. By 1913, all of the canal had been abandoned for commercial use.

One additional treat at the park was the covered bridge. The Hartman II Bridge is built in Queenpost style in 1888 with a span of 50 feet. It once spanned Raccoon Creek on Wheeling Road in Fairfield County, Ohio. In 1967 the covered bridge was reconstructed across the canal within the Lockville Park, Lockville, OH. Rare triple locks can be seen at the park maintained by The Fairfield County Historical Parks Commission.

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