Draining the Great Black Swamp

Draining the Great Black Swamp (HM15Y1)

Location: Archbold, OH 43502 Henry County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 27.079', W 84° 18.022'

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The landscape of northwest Ohio was formed by melting ice and glacial lakes left behind in its wake. Because of the low gradient (3 feet fall per mile) to the northeast, the flat lacustrine plain evolved into a large swamp. A massive swamp forest with huge hardwoods, broken only sporadically with intermittent wet prairies and savannas, dominated the landscape. Both prehistoric and historic Indians farmed the flood plains of the Maumee River and its tributaries: Auglaize, Tiffin, and Blanchard rivers.

The geography of the swamp retarded major settlement up to the Civil war. The 1859 Ohio Ditch Law, a harbinger of drainage legislation nationally, created a cooperative system for individuals to petition county government to surface drain the area. Simultaneous to the surface drainage projects, a massive effort was underway timbering the former swamp forest. Virgin timber for the fleets of America and Europe, grade lumber for the farms and the emerging cities of the area, stave wood for the barrel and stave mills, and the left-over slabwood to fuel the hundreds of clay tile mill kilns dotting the counties of the swamp nearly denuded the landscape of these giant trees. The family-owned clay tile mills allowed under-drainage to transform the swamp into Ohio's most contiguously farmed and productive region.
HM NumberHM15Y1
Series This marker is part of the Ohio: Ohio Historical Society series
Marker Number2-35
Year Placed2003
Placed ByThe Ohio Bicentennial Commission, Northwest State Community College, The Ohio Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 3:29pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 725497 N 4592377
Decimal Degrees41.45131667, -84.30036667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 27.079', W 84° 18.022'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 27' 4.74" N, 84° 18' 1.32" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)419, 567
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6727 Unnamed Road, Archbold OH 43502, US
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