The greatest engineering achievement in Ohio during the pre-railroad era, the Ohio & Erie Canal traversed nearly six miles of Warwick Township. Completed in 1830, the canal brought prosperity to the village of Trenton (now Tuscarawas) and to township farmers and merchants. Several warehouses were built at Trenton, serving as shipping points for the area's agricultural and mineral products to new, distant markets throughout Ohio and the region.
The canal served other uses besides transportation. Mills and factories leased water rights from the state. During the winter months, ice was cut from the canal and stored for year-round use by stores and taverns. The canal also provided entertainment and recreation-fishing, boating, swimming, ice skating, and picnicking-to area residents.
Upper Trenton Lock. The Upper Trenton Lock (Lock 15 South) of the Ohio & Erie Canal was built between 1828 and 1829. Originally built of cut sandstone blocks, the lock was named for the Village of Trenton, now Tuscarawas. Lock 16, or Lower Trenton Lock, lies only 800 feet southwest of Lock 15. The lock tender, who lived in a house on this site, served both locks.
Repeated flood damage prompted reconstruction of Lock 15 in 1907. The deteriorated stonemasonry was completely replaced with concrete at a cost of $6,815. The old stone was used to shore up the towpath. Use of the state-owned canal had declined significantly by this point, and the great flood of 1913 brought the canal era to an end in Ohio.