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100 Years Ago


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Canal Era

The first log cabin and rough frame commercial/public buildings constructed from 1820 to 1837 are now gone. The Canal Era, (1837-1850), during which the 14 mile long Miami and Erie Canal Feeder from Port Jefferson through Sidney, Ohio, to Lockington was constructed, generated the area’s first major economic stimulus for growth.

By July of 1837, the canal was completed as far as Piqua, but it was not until the 1840s that the canal feeder was finished through Sidney. Sidney was on a canal feeder which took water from the Great Miami River at a constructed dam, located east of Port Jefferson and fed water to Sidney and on to Lockington. Lockington was the summit of the canal where six locks were constructed in a span of a quarter of a mile to correct the extensive geographic drop in landscape.

The actual building of the canal brought the first boost with an expanded population of German immigrants and increased business for local merchants. The completed canal provided the second boost by establishing a transportation link to, and from, outside markets that had previously been time-consuming, expensive and impractical to reach. Wages earned in the digging of the canal were sometimes used to purchase government land. A man with a team received a $1.25, while a man with a shovel received sixty-two and a half cents a day. Sidney’s population increased to 713 in 1840 then to 1,284 by 1850.

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'Downtown' segment written in October, 1998 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge 

 

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