Canal marker will be unveiled Saturday

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A historical marker for the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal will be unveiled at 11 a.m. Saturday in downtown Warren.

A dedication ceremony will take place at the Raymond John Wean Foundation Building on Courthouse Square. Following the ceremony, the marker will be placed at the corner of Park Avenue and East Market Street.

Among the speakers at Saturday’s event will be Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and representatives of the Ohio Historical Society and the Canal Society of Ohio.

The ceremony and dedication are being organized by local historian Jim McFarland and Janice Bland. The marker is being dedicated in memory of Raymond L. Bland, Janice’s husband.

McFarland said the canal was commonly known as the P & O Canal. He said it was a cross-cut canal that went east to west, connecting Akron with New Castle, and going through Warren, Niles and Youngstown.

McFarland said the canal was used mostly to transport coal and it connected with the Erie Canal in Akron.

Work began on the P & O Canal in 1835 and it was open in 1840. The canal was 82 miles long and contained 54 locks. It cost nearly $1.3 million to build.

McFarland said construction was delayed in 1837 because of financial difficulties and a cholera outbreak.

Some portions of the canal lie under the B & O (CSX) Railroad and passed through Warren entering the city from the west at Leavittsburg and followed West Market Street to Main Street.

He said the route was so profitable, the railroads took it over, which led to the canal’s eventual demise. The last functioning section in Youngstown was abandoned in 1872 and the canal was officially closed and sold off in 1877.

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