Crichton's Inn about 1895 near Rushtown, Scioto County.

Ohio & Erie Canal, Ye Old Mill at Union Mills  about 1935

Canal boats at Union Mills in West Portsmouth

Freda Craig Shaw collection

Ohio & Erie canal boat West Portsmouth

Photo from the level of Brush Creek looking up at the aqueduct, with the 88-foot, 14-panel, multiple kingpost truss Rushtown covered bridge behind it.

Old Postcard titled A West Side Scene, Portsmouth, Ohio Ralph Goins's collection

O & E canal near Crichton's Inn

Ohio & Erie Terminal at Scioto River, Portsmouth

Last Ohio Lock, # 55, opened November 13,1887 giving access to the Ohio river. It cost $10,000 and only one boat ever went through it. Note the bridge that formerly carried the river road

Ohio & Erie Canal bridge over lock 55

Photo by Ray Stockton who used to work on this bridge at the canal when he worked for the county.

Ohio & Erie Canal lock 55

Paul Claxton  photo about 1 mile west of Scioto river

Ohio & Erie canal Scioto Co. 1875 map

Rushtown N & W RR bridge over Ohio & Erie canal1890

S. S. English general store and post office in Rushtown late 1880s


To accommodate canal traffic and other travelers coming into the area, and to offer a local recreation spot, various accommodations were established in the Rushtown area. The S. S. English general store and post office served as "gents ordinaire" and as the source of staples for the area, while the Chrichton Inn conveyed a more genteel atmosphere, including a 100 seat dining room which doubled as a ballroom. The English store was later sold to E. E. Vaughters. (From "Scioto A County History")

Union Mills, West Portsmouth Near by was Locks #50, 51, and 52 that lowered the canal to the level of the Scioto bottom lands

Ohio & Erie Canal repair boat

Ohio & Erie Canal West side covered bridge & canal

Ohio & Erie  Canal, West Portsmouth about 1907

Ohio & Erie Canal West Portsmouth scene

Ohio & Erie Canal West Portsmouth scene

Ohio & Erie Canal Tow Path and Scioto Bottoms,1914

boys on the lock at Rushtown, Lock No. 49, Ohio & Erie Canal

Ohio & Erie Canal Portsmouth west side

Ohio & Erie Canal Portsmouth west side

Ohio & Erie Canal  scene from the West side

probably lock 50 West Portsmouth Union Mills c 1908

West Portsmouth store seen in the above picture. The sign below the middle window says "Bertha Post Office", and the sign under the other window says "Canal Collector Office". This store was owned by George Davis at the turn of the Century, and burned down in 1911. Rebuilt by a new owner, it was damaged in the 1913 Flood but stayed open for a number of years. Apparently at the time, this area was not called West Portsmouth.

Looking at the south end of lock # 50 at Union Mills July 2009

Ohio & Erie Canal Lock 50 at Union Mills  July 2009

Ohio & Erie Lock 50 at Union Mills, Bertha (West Portsmouth)

Ohio & Erie Lock 50 at Union Mills, Bertha

O & E Union Mills near Distillery, Bertha

Ohio & Erie Cabal, float bridge north of Distillery  at Union Town

Ohio & Erie Canal bridge 9 miles, north of Portsmouth

Ohio & Erie Canal Lock 49 at Rushtown looking  south   July 15, 1909

Ohio & Erie Canal scenes near Senecaville above Portsmouth Ohio 1885

Ohio & Erie Canal, old distillery, 2 ½ miles north of Portsmouth

Canal bed looking north from the north end of Lock 48

photo by Tyrone HemryAugust 2009

Crichton's Inn

Crichton's Inn was located near McDermott Road and the Ohio Canal. It was a popular summer vacation spot for those in Southern Ohio. It had a large dining room, accommodating up to 100 people, 30 guest rooms, and a space in the yard for summer tent camps. A Norfolk & Western station was located in Rushtown a short distance away. Entertainment at the Inn included music, dancing, meals, hiking trails, outdoor games and a 40 foot hammock until it closed in 1919.

Ohio & Erie Canal & N & W at Rushtown 1933

Brown’s Mill & Boats, Rushtown, Rush's Brush Creek

Peter Browns Mill at Rushtown in 1898 front view

     Peter Browns Mill at Rushtown in 1898. Peter started his mill in 1884 on the banks of the Ohio & Erie Canal. It was a more modest affair than the building now shown. Wheat and Corn were ground on buhrs, and the power furnished by water from a mill race fed by the canal. The capacity was about 25 bushels per day.

     The plant was always operated as a custom and merchant mill. The surplus grains bought from area farmers were sold at near-by-stores and to consumers direct.

     Six years after the start, because of increased competition from more modern methods, Mr. Brown adapted the new roller process of making flour. The capacity was increased to fifty barrels per day.

    Three grades of goods were made: "Silver Wave", "Montana", and "Roller A." These represent grades 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

    In addition to water power from the canal, steam is also used alternately in conjunction with the water that has passed.

    The large steam elevator shown in connection with the mill has a capacity of some ten thousand bushels and there by local farmers find a splendid home market for their crops.

    The flour was sold chiefly along the lines of the Norfolk and Western, and the Cincinnati, Portsmouth and Virginia railroads and in Portsmouth.

Ohio & Erie Canal Lock 48 looking south

photo by Tyrone HemryAugust 2009

Ohio & Erie Canal Lucasville

Ohio & Erie Canal Lock 48 looking North

photo by Tyrone Hemry August 2009

Ohio and Erie Canal in Scioto County, Ohio

Old map showing West Portsmouth when it was known as Bertha, Ohio

Canal boats were typically 14' wide and about 80' long and came in three types freighter, packet and state boat.
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Ohio & Erie Terminal at Scioto River, Portsmouth

As this is not a history of the Canal as such, only such notice of it will be given as affects Scioto County. June 4, 1825, the Canal was begun at the Licking Summit. It was the intention to work it both ways. Governor Morrow and his aids, the Canal Commissioner, the Commissioners of the Canal Fund, Governor Clinton of New York and General Van Reissellear were present. Rev. Jenks of Granville officiated as Chaplain. Governor Clinton addressed the people. The Militia was out in force with all their tinsel. Mr. Kelley of the Canal Commissioners, presented two spades to Judge Minor, President of the Board. He gave them to Governors Clinton and Morrow. Each Governor used a spade and a great shout went up. Then each of the officials of the Canal used a spade. There, was a public dinner, after which a number of toasts were drunk. About 8,000 persons were present. At the same time it was announced that the commissioners by unanimous vote had decided to come from Chillicothe down the west side of the Scioto, because it would cost $36.000 less. On September 2, 1825, 1200 laborers were employed at Licking Summit. They were paid $8.00 per month. July 6, 1826, the line between Piketon and Portsmouth had not been determined. At this time 2,000 laborers and 3,000 teams were at work between Licking Summit and Cleveland. In that distance 44 locks were required. There was a fall of 395 feet between those points. August 10. 1826, the Canal Commissioners borrowed $1,000,000 at six per cent. January 28, 1827, Governor Worthington was a canal commissioner. It was expected the work in the Scioto Valley would be put under contract the following season. March 8, 1827, the surveys on the west side of the Scioto were completed and the surveys on the east side from Piketon to Portsmouth were to be made. July 5, 1827, the canal was expected to be opened from Akron to Cleveland. July 19, 1828, the location of the canal in Scioto County was tixed by the Canal Commissioners. The town took a boom. The Times, not the present Times, but a paper called the Western Times, was filled with advertisements, August 2, 1828, many of the citizens of Pike and Scioto County protested against the location of the canal on the west side. That portion of land between the present Scioto Bridge and the old mouth of the Scioto was then called the "Isthmus," and on January 7, 1829, the canal commissioners resolved to cut a way through the "Isthmus" between the Ohio and Scioto rivers and make the mouth of the canal at the lower end of Portsmouth. February ,21, 1829, it was announced that the "Isthmus" at the west end of Portsmouth was to be cut through and aqueducts would be built at Pee Pee, Camp Creek, and Brush Creek.

June 6, 1829, proposals for parts of the canal were published in the Western Times. On June 15th and 20th, lettings on the Ohio canal were made. Section 83, was Brush Creek Aqueduct, Section 90 was Pond Creek Aqueduct, Section 97 was Three Locks near Portsmouth and Section 98 was through the low bottoms. George W. Darlington had sections 55 and 56. Section 99 was a dam across the Scioto and section 100 was the cutting through the "Isthmus." Eads and McGregor had the three locks at Union Mills. November 21, 1829, proposals for daming the Scioto and cutting through the "Isthmus" were advertised to be let December 7, 1829. Lemuel Moss of Franklin, obtained the contract. August 19, 1831, the plans at the east end of the canal were changed. The canal was to end on the west side of the Scioto. It could not be completed before the summer of 1832. October 7, 1831, the canal was opened from Cleveland to Chillicothe, 250 miles. September 15, 1832, the canal was opened to Waverly. Boats arrived and there was a public celebration. October 13; 1832, the opening of the canal to Portsmouth was to be celebrated. Col. William Oldfield was to be Marshal, Dr. Hempstead was to receive the guests and William V. Peck was to deliver the oration. All Revolutionary Soldiers were invited to join in the ceremony.

October 20, 1832, owing to the prevalence of cholera, the celebration was deferred. December 1, 1832, the canal was completed. April 1, 1837, G. J. Leet had a line of packets to Columbus which went through in twenty-four hours. June 3, 1837. there was a line of boats running through to Cleveland. September 23, 1837, the flood destroyed the culvert at Camp Creek and the canal was broken. Extra stages were put on and teams employed to handle passengers and goods. January 2, 1838, navigation was closed, and the new aqueduct at Camp Creek was not finished. January 23, 1838, navigation was resumed. Between January 6th and 21st there arrived at Portsmouth 8,031 barrels of pork, 5,571 barrels of flour, 561 barrels of whiskey, 176 barrels of lard, butter 108 kegs, cheese 141 casks. Two or three large steamboats were freighted for New Orleans. July 10, 1838. the project of the lateral canal was discussed in the Scioto Tribune. In the Scioto Tribune of June 30, 1838, there was an account of the public meeting held in the interest of the Lateral Canal. The vote of the town on subscribing to the stock was 161 for and 37 against. This vote was taken on July 24, 1838, but this project never materialized. Edward Hamilton was chairman of this meeting. Moses Gregory and G. S. B. Hempstead were Secretaries. July 31. 1838, notice was published of a basin to be constructed at the town of Alexandria. The legislature was to be applied to. At a public meeting of the citizens of Portsmouth held December 29, 1838, it was decided to petition the legislature to subscribe one-third of the stock of the Ohio Canal and Manufacturing Company and build a canal on the east side of the Scioto. Edward Hamilton was chairman of the meeting and S. M. Tracy was Secretary. John R. Turner. Joseph Riggs and E. Glover were appointed to bring the matter before the legislature. March 15, 1839, a resolution was passed by the legislature to construct a canal from Bear Creek to Portsmouth crossing the Scioto at Bear Creek. The Ohio Canal and Manufacturing Company were to give up their rights. The news reached Portsmouth, March 19. Four days later, White and Rogers of the Senate. and Donally and Ripley of the House were met by a cavalcade and escorted to the United States Hotel where they spent the evening. On that evening the town was illuminated. March 29th, 1839, the canal was closed for repairs but was expected to be open by April 10th. November 15, 1839, the canal was closed from Brush Creek down for repairs. November 29, 1839, goods were brought to Brush Creek by canal and thence wagoned to Portsmouth. February 24, 1840, 200 delegates went from Portsmouth to the Whig State Convention by canal. They were from Hamilton. Brown. Lawrence, Adams and Scioto Counties. February 28. 1840, the Bear Creek culvert fell in. The tolls on the Ohio Canal for 1837 were $433,699, for 1838, $382,135. expenses of repairing $214,581.

August 27, 1846, survey was being made by the State down the east side of the Scioto for a canal. July 18, 1855, the canal was in a deplorable condition. March 31, 1858, there was a tri-weekly packet line to Columbus. The boats left Portsmouth Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 a. m. and returned on alternate days. February 29, 1860, the tolls for the quarter ending February 15, 1859, were $10,824.65; for the quarter ending February 15, 1860, were $7,150.11; for the quarter ending May 15, $9,926.15; for the quarter ending May 15, 1859, were $17,477.34; for the quarter ending May 15, 1860, were $10,568.93.

December 29, 1860, Barton and Thompson made a canal propeller and tried it on the waters of the canal. March 1, 1865, navigation opened, the canal had been closed two months. November 14, 1866, the first canal boat for many months came through from Cleveland. Captain A. W. Williamson's Evening Star was making through trips to Chillicothe tri-weekly. February 23, 1867, there was a break in the canal at Sharonville which took two weeks to repair. The Ohio Canal from Cleveland to Portsmouth is 306 miles long, with feeder 11 miles, total length 317 miles. It cost $4,695,203. Licking County reservoir covers 3,600 acres. November 13, 1887, the extension of the Ohio canal to the Ohio river was celebrated. It cost $10,000 and only one boat ever went through it.

from Scioto Count History

Ohio & Erie Canal Lock 55

Bill Oeters photo

Untitled
Map from a 1848 book by Evans, History of Scioto County. Note path of the canal.

A 1833 map plan for a new city of Portsmouth apparently promoting sale of real estate lots with the coming of the Canal. It was to be built at the confluence of the Scioto, Ohio River and the Erie Canal. Complete with a steam boat basin, dry docks for steam boats, canals and locks. Much of the proposed area would have been flooded every year.