Ceremony to memorialize canal

WARREN – An unveiling and dedication will take place Saturday marking the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal that once was located in Warren.

An Ohio Historical Society marker will be officially dedicated at 11 a.m. Saturday starting with a program at the Raymond J. Wean Building, 147 W. Market St.

Jan Bland, chairwoman of the committee planning the event, said prior to the unveiling a program on interesting facts about the canal, some canal songs, and excerpts from a professional recording of a tour of the area where the canal once was will take place at the Wean building.

Following that program, the marker will be unveiled at the corner of West Market Street and North Park Avenue.

Bland said the marker will note Warren’s historic beginnings and the importance the canal played in trade.

Investors in the marker are the Ohio Historical Society, The Canal Society of Ohio, the Warren Rotary Club, Trumbull 100 and the Raymond L. Bland family.

Bland said her husband, Ray, who died in 2007, and Alex Bobersky and others wanted to see the marker become a reality.

She said a few years ago there was a bus tour of the Canal Society of Ohio who toured the area where the canal was and the hotels where people stayed who work on it. That location is where the Wean building is today.

To get the marker, extensive research and proof were provided to the Ohio Historical Society.

Jim McFarland, a committee member, said many of the original canal financiers met at the hotel where the Wean Building is.

“The canal is what helped build Warren,” McFarland said.

He said his research found that the final decision to build the P&O Canal resulted from several canal conventions held at Warren’s first courthouse in November 1833. More than 100 delegates met to discuss financing for the project.

Local advocates for the canal included Simon Perkins, Leicester King, David Tod and Calvin Pease.

McFarland said construction on the canal began in September 1835 and took five years to complete at a cost of $1.27 million. Most of the construction was done by local farm laborers.

When finished, the 82-mile canal connected the Beaver Canal, south of New Castle, Pa., and the Ohio and Erie Canal in Akron.

The committee said the P&O opened previously unreachable markets, and helped bring wealth and prosperity along its entire area, including Warren.

McFarland said the canal greatly spurred economic development in Warren and northeast Ohio.

However, railroads began replacing the P&O by mid-century.