Monday, December 3, 2012

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park

After Marblehead, we went to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  A good part of the Park is comprised of the remnants of the Ohio and Erie Canals.  It was a pretty interesting place.
 This was one of the foot bridges across the Cuyahoga River.
 Since I like truss bridges and there was one there, I took a picture of it.  Based on the design, I suspect this is related to a bridge over the Huron River that I took a picture of.
 Turns out that this was a bridge built by the King Bridge Company of Cleveland Ohio in 1923.
 A shot of the Cuyahoga River.
 Another shot of the bridge.
 Since I can't resist tracks either.
 Or thistles.
 As I was looking at the water, I noticed the reflection of the Bridge in it.  Decided to take a picture.  What do you think?
 One more picture of the Bridge.
 This is a building known as the Canal Visitor Center.  It is a part of the National Park.  There is a pretty cool little museum inside along with some helpful staff.  It stands before Lock 38 and has been in existence for 150 years.  It has been a tavern, store, residence and blacksmith. 
 This is Lock 38 of the Erie and Ohio Canal.  The difference in level between the valley and Cleveland required a number of locks along the canal.  They rely on gravity to fill and empty the water.  If a barge wanted to go to a lower level, the gate would close behind in and a valve would empty the water to the lower level.  And vice versa for the other way.

Construction of the canal began in 1825 and by 1832, you could go all the way from Clevland to Cincinatti in a much shorter period of time (part of that was by the Ohio River).  It was four feet deep and was dug by hand by Irish and German immigrants.  Freight traveled on it until 1861 (and maybe a little bit beyond) when the railroads started to take over.  It was continued until 1913 for use a water supply for the industries and farms along the way.

When the canal was built, Ohio was wild country but the canal allowed the state to prosper.  It became one of the richest and most populous states in the country.
 The models above represent the different types of barges that traveled along the canal.  The top one was used to maintain the canals.  The middle one was a freight version.  It could carry approximately 100 tons of cargo.  The bottom one was used for passengers.  The barge would typically be pulled by a team of mules.
 The canal fostered the growth of many businesses along the way.  This was known as Alexander's Mill.  In 1900, it was bought by the Wilson family and is still a business today.
 The Frazee House.  Another place that served as a tavern and inn along the canal.
 Part of the canal itself.  At one time, you would probably see several barges on this.
 The front of the Frazee House.
 A bridge along the way.
 Another view of the Mill.
 One of the buildings on the mill property.
 This was a regulation gate.  As the barges would displace water, it would go into a retention pond.  I think this gate could be used to get water from the river.
 One of the gate's mechanisms.
 Another view of the canal.
 An eagle.
 This is a view of the lock in front of the Mill.  It isn't in as good of condition as Lock 38.
 The back of the mill.  To the left is the remains of the overflow channel.  As water would enter, it would be used to propel a wheel which in turn was used in the mill.  Very efficient.
 Another view of the lock.
 A picture of the canal and the towpath.  The animals would walk along on the towpath.
 I kind of liked the looks of this tree.
One more picture of the canal.  I guess if you ever wanted to see a demonstration of technological progress, this is a good one.  At one point, the canals were the only means of mass transportation.  Then they were replaced by the trains.  These are also a stark example of how technology can displace workers.  Each barge require a team of three mules, which required handlers.  A train only requires the engine, engineer and a few others and would replace several barges.

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