Louisville and Portland Canal

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Revision as of 16:40, 1 February 2013 by Ccsmith (talk | contribs) (Settlers and Records)

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Historical Background

The Louisville and Portland Canal was and still is a two mile canal bypassing the Falls of the Ohio near Louisville Kentucky. It opened in 1825. The Louisville and Portland Canal was built to bypass The Falls of the Ohio located at Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville was founded at the only major natural navigational barrier on the river, the Falls of the Ohio. The Falls were a series of rapids where the river drops about 26 feet (7.9 m) in a stretch of about 2 miles (3.2 km). In this area, the river flowed over hard, fossil-rich beds of limestone. The first locks on the river were built in 1825 at Louisville to circumnavigate the falls. Today it is the site of McAlpine Locks and Dam.
Since the falls could only be navigated by boat at high water, business sprang up unloading boats coming down from upstream at the top of the falls, portaging goods and/or settlers the two miles pass the falls to be loaded on other boats at the base of the falls to continue downstream towards Saint Louis and New Orleans.
It was the advent of the steamboat that spurred the need for a canal to bypass these falls so that that goods and people could journey Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, all the way to New Orleans without having to change boats or modes of transportation.


As mentioned it is only two miles long located next to Louisville, Kentucky. It has been in operation since its opening in 1830 and still is important in river traffic today.

Settlers and Records

There are no known records of movement through this canal. One will have to look in other records of traffic on the Ohio River for information of movement of people up and down this river.



Links to other canals and river histories: