Friday, August 04, 2000

Canal from 1800s will reappear in Cleves

Historical marker going up; park will be built around tunnel

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CLEVES — An Ohio historical marker that pays tribute to the history of the Cincinnati-Whitewater Canal will be dedicated Saturday in the village.

        Just 1,400 feet of the canal tunnel remain. Both the village and the Three Rivers Historical Society have plans to excavate it and turn the area around it into a park.

        The historical marker will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Miller Stockum Post 485 of the American Legion, at 29 E. State St.

        The marker will then be moved to the site of what remains of the tunnel on South Main Street, near Taylor High School.

        The Cincinnati-Whitewater Canal connected the markets of southeastern Indiana with Cincinnati. It lasted only about a quarter-century, and ran only about 25 miles from the Harrison area down along the Ohio River, through Cleves, North Bend, Addyston, Delhi Township and on into Cincinnati.

        Nancy Gulick, chairwoman of the canal committee of Three Rivers Historical Society, said the tunnel was created as part of the canal to allow canal boats to go through the hills of Cleves.

        The canal was one of a network that opened the interior of the Midwest and, specifically, Ohio to commerce. They were eventually replaced by railroads. The Cincinnati-Whitewater Canal operated from about 1843 to 1865, Ms. Gulick said.

        “It was started by Cincinnati merchants to go from Cincinnati into Indi ana markets and vice versa,” she said. “It was very hard to transport upriver to Cincinnati. The railroads came in and took over this particular canal.

        “Most of the evidence of the canal era is gone.”

        But the historical society and the village want to preserve what is left of this history. Mayor Joe Whitton said land around the canal tunnel is being donated to the village, with plans for making it a park.

        “It's going to draw visitors,” Mr. Whitton said. “With the villages of Cleves and North Bend it should spur some economic growth and trigger some things.”

        Ms. Gulick said they are working with University of Cincinnati students who are helping to design the park. This fall, she said, engineering students will assess the site and determine what it might take to clear the tunnel — much of it is buried — and stabilize it.

        “We're going to dig the tunnel out,” Ms. Gulick said. “It will be the only canal structure that you can actually put your hands on in this part of the state.”


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