One of several surviving stone arch bridges, many at least partially rehabbed, among the oldest in Ohio, that originally served the Miami and Erie Canal, but not carries a highway.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The bridge is located under earth fill and is not visible from the 2-lane roadway. The setting is a recreational park in Napoleon. The roadway is built on the right-of-way of the former Miami & Erie Canal. The Miami & Erie Canal was completed in 1845. It connected the Ohio River at Cincinnati with Lake Erie at Toledo.
The 1 span, 25'-long arch bridge built ca. 1845 has coursed ashlar spandrel walls, arch barrel, and wingwalls. At an unknown date, a concrete arch addition of about 3' width was added to one elevation. The other elevation has not been altered. As part of a 2001 TEA project, a concrete retaining wall, textured to appear as field stone, was added above and set back from the stone arch on one side.
Widened with concrete arch, date unknown. Rehabilitated, 2001 with addition of textured concrete retaining wall above the arch. Wingwalls failing.
Summary of Significance
The stone arch culvert is one in a series of eight ca. 1842 aqueducts that now carry SR 24 and SR 424 over streams in Henry County along the north shore of the Maumee River. The highways are built on the alignment of the 1832-1842 or 1845 Wabash & Erie Canal (W&E) that linked Lake Erie at Toledo with the Ohio River at Evansville. At Junction in Paulding County the W&E Canal joined the Miami and Ohio Canal to Cincinnati (see 6333230). While the W&E did much to stimulate the historic development of Toledo as a great lake port, the ambitious canals, which were expensive for Ohio and particularly Indiana to construct, were completed about the time the railroads came into prominence. By the Civil War, the railroads had eclipsed the canals for shipping goods and materials thus driving the canals into decline. The W&E was abandoned was abandoned in 1909. Period accounts report that many sections, which were in bad repair at the time of abandonment, had disappeared by 1913. The canal was largely drained in 1929, and in selected locations, highways and roads were constructed on the filled canal like SR 424 along the north shore of the Maumee River in Henry County or TR 153 in Paulding County. Ohio's eastern and western canals represent a significant historic context documenting our young nation's approach to developing internal improvements and linking regions and markets. The aqueducts of the Wabash & Erie Canal are historically and technologically significant for their association with the canal. They chronicle an important aspect of American history, settlement and development, and roots of our economy. All are eligible; eight in Henry County and one in Paulding County) for their association with the canal.
A well represented bridge type throughout the state for both bridges and culverts, stone arch bridges date from the mid 1830s and the building of the National Road through Belmont Co. Many are superbly proportioned and constructed by local contractors. They were used built through World War I, particularly during the later years in park settings. More than 125 examples remain. This example has moderate significance based on loss of integrity and comparison with a more complete aqueduct for the same canal in Paulding Co.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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