Anthony Wayne Parkway
[West Side of Marker]: Miami and Erie Canal
This marker is on the right-of-way of the old Miami and Erie Canal. Gov. DeWitt Clinton of New York broke ground for the canal on July 21, 1825 just below Middletown. Built in sections, the canal was opened from end to end in 1845. It was 248.8 miles long and here on the "Loramie Summit," rose to 512 feet above Lake Erie. It included 19 aqueducts, 3 guard locks, 103 lift locks, and 3 reservoirs. Navigation began November 28, 1827 and, at the peak of operation, about 400 boats plied the "big ditch." The coming of the railroad signaled its decline. Operation ended officially in 1877, but the canal was used in part through the early 1900's. The canal provided western Ohio with badly needed transportation and water power and was instrumental in welding the state together politically and economically.
[East Side of Marker]: Delphos
Delphos began and flourished as a canal town. It was originally four separate settlements: East Bredeick, West Bredeick, Howard, and Section Ten (named after a section of the canal). In 1851, Father John Otto Bredeick, a Bavarian priest who had purchased and founded this area in 1840, named the settlement Delphos. The town became a center of canal traffic rivalled in the west only by Fort Wayne, Indiana. The first canal boat, carrying Governor Bebb as a passenger, passed through Delphos on July 4, 1845. Farmers from miles around came to load their produce on the canal boats. However, the building of the Ohio and Indiana Railroad in 1854 from Crestline, Ohio to Fort Wayne shifted the center of the trade and the repid growth of Delphos abated. This section of the canal is one of three which is intact. It feeds water from Grand Reservoir (Lake St. Marys) to industries in St. Marys and Delphos.