City and Heritage Society teaming up for historical signage

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

An example of the historical signage

The city of Groveport and the Groveport Heritage Society are working together to promote the city’s history.

“We want to provide a simple means for visitors and residents to learn about Groveport’s history,” said Carla Cramer of the Groveport Heritage Society.

The heritage society and the city plan to erect historical description signage regarding the town at four different sites including Blacklick Park, Heritage Park, Ohio and Erie Canal Lock 22, and the pocket park at Main and Front streets.

“Over time, those locations will receive signs,” said Groveport City Administrator B.J. King.

These historical description signs include a map, photos, and concise, easy to absorb historical text. The signage highlights the town’s history as a port on the Ohio and Erie Canal and other historical topics.

“We are working to order the sign structures,” said King. “With the city partnering for these signs, no licensing agreement is necessary. The city will maintain the sign structures.”

The heritage society gathered images and historical information for the signs from the Groveport Heritage Museum and worked with Niels Hansen to create the design of the signage.

The Blacklick Park sign includes information about the Ohio and Erie Canal, the canal boatyard, recreation on the canal, ice harvesting on the canal, and the interurban railway.

The Lock 22 sign includes information on the Ohio and Erie Canal, the lock, and the railroad.

The Pocket Park sign features information on the Ohio and Erie Canal bridges, Groveport’s historic downtown and businesses, Groveport Town Hall, and the Elmont Hotel.

The Heritage Park sign includes information on the Groveport Cemetery, John S. Rarey and Cruiser, Groveport’s origins, the brick and tile yard, agricultural history, and the log house.

The size and the costs of the signage are still being determined as well as when the signs would be installed, but King said the costs for the sign structures could be “about $3,000 per.”

King said a project like this is important to the community.

“It will highlight the history of Groveport,” said King. “I was raised in northeastern Ohio and there is a park there that has restored locks. It is definitely important to embrace the work of those that came before us.”

Canal driving trail
Groveport is a stop on the 114 mile driving trail of the The Ohio & Erie Canal Southern Descent Historic District that begins at the southern edge of Buckeye Lake in Fairfield County. It includes Bibler lock 8 in Baltimore; locks 11, 12, and 13 in Lockville; lock 22 in Groveport; locks 26, 27, 29, and 30 in and near Lockbourne; and remnants of the Columbus Feeder just west of Lockbourne in Franklin County.

In Pickaway County the trail passes lock 31 in Millport and includes Canal Park in Circleville. In Scioto County the trail continues south through Rushtown at lock 48 and lock 50 in West Portsmouth and ends at lock 55, west of downtown Portsmouth at the Ohio River.

The locks’ function was to raise and lower water levels for canal boats to meet the changing level of terrain.

Cramer said the historical signage will help residents and visitors learn the story of this important 19th century transportation route as they follow the driving trail. Signage provides continuity and connectivity along the trail for visitors.

Canal history
The Ohio and Erie Canal was completed between 1827-32 and wound 308 miles through Ohio connecting Lake Erie at Cleveland to the Ohio River in Portsmouth. The canal, a man-made waterway that was an engineering marvel, was built to enhance transportation and shipping in the state. The canal system operated until the early 20th century.

Lock 22 in Groveport
Lock 22 in Groveport is about 192-years-old and is made of sandstone block. Its overall length is 117 feet and its chamber is 90 feet long and 16 feet wide.

The lock is owned and maintained by the city of Groveport and is located in the northern part of Groveport Park. It is accessible from Groveport Park and Blacklick Park.

The canal channel is still visible near Lock 22 as well as in Groveport’s Blacklick Park.

Additionally, a dry dock and canal boatyard operated in the 1800s in what is now Blacklick Park. The canal operated in Groveport from 1831 to the early 1900s and the transportation opportunities it offered for shipping and travel were a significant factor in the economic development and growth of the city.

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