The Miami and Erie Canal was a canal that connected the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Ohio with Lake Erie in Toledo, Ohio. Construction on the canal began in 1825 and was completed in 1845. It consisted of 19 aqueducts, three guard locks, and 103 canal locks. Each lock measured 90 feet (27 m) by 15 feet (4.6 m) and they collectively raised the canal 395 feet (120 m) above Lake Erie and 513 feet (156 m) above the Ohio River.
The peak of the canal was called the Loramie Summit and extended 19 miles (31 km) between New Bremen, Ohio to lock 1-S in Lockington, north of Piqua, Ohio. The system consisted of 301.49 miles (485.20 km) of canal channel built at a cost of $8,062,680.07. Boats were towed along the canal using either donkeys or horses walking on a prepared towpath along the bank. The boats typically traveled at a rate of four to five miles per hour.
Urban redevelopment has eliminated the beginnings and ends of the canal. However, on the canal's southern end there is a drained section located in St. Bernard, Ohio's Ludlow Park where the canal bed is still visible. The canal remains in water (and navigable for canoes or kayaks) in the rural region between Delphos, Ohio and St. Marys, Ohio. South of St. Mary's, it has degraded to form a shallow ditch in most places, with some ruined locks remaining.
From north to south along State Route 66, one can see pieces of the original canal in Delphos, at a small historic park located at the "Deep Cut," in Spencerville, Lock Two (a hamlet mostly consisting of period brick buildings), New Bremen, Minster, Fort Loramie, and Piqua. The Miami and Erie Canal Deep Cut is a U.S. National Historic Landmark near Spencerville that was designated in 1964. The Piqua Historical Area features a replica canal boat and other related items. The Delphos Canal Commission also has a canal museum located on Main Street.
In addition, visitors to Providence Metropark, near Grand Rapids in the northwest part of the state, are able to ride a replica canal boat as it goes through lock number 44. Lock 44 is an original Miami and Erie canal lock and Providence Metropark is the only place in Ohio in which visitors are able to travel completely through a functioning canal lock. Other sites of interest are listed.
The northern portion of the towpath (from Fort Loramie to Delphos and beyond) is used as a hiking trail. The massive west abutment of the Old Nine-mile Aqueduct over the Great Miami River is still present ca. 400 ft (120 m) upstream of the Taylorsville Dam east of Vandalia (Montgomery County). The aqueduct was destroyed by the Great 1913 Flood. The abutment terminates a fairly intact canal segment that extends at least 5 mi (8.0 km) north to Tipp City. This segment includes an intact concrete weir near the abandoned Vandalia water treatment plant (aka "Tadmore Station") and a ruined lock (#16, "Picayune") about halfway to Tipp City along Canal Road.
A 28 page visitor's guide booklet to the Miami & Erie Canal Heritage Corridor, including numbered tour map, stories, photos and descriptions of canal features, local attractions, museums, parks, and hiking trails is available online from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. A map showing the disposition of the canal lands is available online from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.