Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal

From Ohio History Central

The Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal (P&O) was built between 1835 and 1840. Also known as the Mahoning Canal, the P&O connected Akron, Ohio, to the Beaver and Erie Canal in Pennsylvania. The completed canal extended approximately eighty-three miles and contained fifty-four locks.

Unlike the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Miami and Erie Canal, the P&O did not receive much funding from the state of Ohio. The state legislature felt that it could not justify providing money for a canal that extended beyond the boundaries of Ohio into another state. Canal builders raised private funds for the project instead. The construction faced numerous challenges and briefly halted in 1837. The state was facing economic problems at the time because of the Panic of 1837, and a number of workers died during a cholera epidemic as well. Despite these challenges, the canal was finally completed in 1840. Future president of the United States, James A. Garfield, worked on the canal in the late 1840s.

Like other canals across the state, the P&O soon faced competition from railroads. Ultimately, canal traffic ended completely in the 1870s, and the land was sold in 1877.

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