Louisville and Portland Canal

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Revision as of 16:07, 4 February 2013 by Ccsmith (talk | contribs) (Historical Background)

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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 these falls, which are the only major natural navigational barrier on the Ohio River. The Falls are a series of rapids where the river drops about 26 feet (7.9 m) in a stretch of about 2 miles (3.2 km). The first locks on the river were built in 1825 to circumnavigate the falls. Today it is the site of McAlpine Locks and Dam.

  • Since the falls are a natural barrier and can 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.

  • The construction of the canal was spurred by the desire to able to move goods and people from 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: