WARREN - For those who did not know a canal once went through downtown Warren, a new Ohio Historical Society marker noting that point has been posted.
The two-sided historical marker is located at the corner of West Market Street and Park Avenue and celebrates the more than 30 years of Warren's Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal.
The marker was the brainchild of the late Ray Bland of Warren and came to fruition by a canal marker committee which included his wife, Jan Bland.
In operation from 1845 to 1877, the canal played a major role in economic development in the Valley, serving as the modern highway.
"My husband had dreamed of having this sign put in Warren because he knew that so many citizens around this area did not know about a canal having gone through here," Jan Bland said.
Jim McFarland, a committee member, said the canal was the local way of getting products made here shipped from the area to Akron and Pittsburgh and importing other products to Warren. Items including grain and coal were shipped by the canal from 1845 to 1877.
"Ray Bland was very interested in the canal and wanted local residents to know it was here at one time," McFarland said.
"The canal was later taken over by the railroads, which were faster,'' he said.
The marker was funded by the Bland family, Trumbull 100, the Warren Rotary Club and the Ohio Historical Society.
The dedication also included the signing of canal-themed songs and sharing of the history of the canal during a program at the Wean Foundation Building.
"It is important that local people know about the canal in Warren,'' McFarland said.