Teaching Cleveland
table of contentshome
Middle School Edition: 6-8

Lesson 14

Cleveland and the Ohio Canal


Students will examine a report of the Ohio Canal Collector's Office and will identify items transported to and through Cleveland on the Ohio Canal from 1840 to 1847. Students will analyze the collectors report and will track transported items through the years.



  1. What products were shipped on the Ohio Canal? What items arrived for the Cleveland market? What items were cleared through Cleveland for other destinations? Where might they have been going?
  2. What products were shipped the most frequently? What products increased in shipment in a given year? Decreased?


  1. Review information on canals with students. Ask why they think a canal would be important to the commerce of Ohio? How would this canal help commerce in Cleveland? What businesses would be helped? What type of business might grow because of the canal?
  2. Display copy of the Ohio Canal map. Review with students the route and cities thecanal passed through. What effect would the canal have on these areas during the 1800's? Who would be affected? In what ways?
  3. Ask how many students have traveled on the Turnpike? Why do we pay to travel the Turnpike? Discuss the "business" of running a Turnpike - fees, collectors, varying fees for cars vs. trucks, record-keeping, etc. and relate it to traveling on the canals.
  4. Distribute copies of the Ohio Canal Collectors Office Report. Read through the report. Identify items, note how items were packaged (bushels, pounds, etc.) What years does the report cover? What items arrive in Cleveland? Speculate why Cleveland was their destination. What items cleared through Cleveland for travel on the Canal to other destinations? Speculate where they may be headed and why. What might be included under "Merchandise"?
  5. Distribute copies of Handout 2 - Analysis Sheet for students to complete in class.
  6. Ask students to create an advertisement for the Ohio Canal. Things they might want to consider when designing their ad: Who would be their "target market"? Why would a business want to use the canal? What products can be shipped on the Canal? Costs?

previous lesson table of contents next lesson

website design credits