The Ohio River: Ever Changing
— Chilo: Living and Working with the Ohio River —
Since its creation, the Ohio River has always changed. Its seasonal floods and dry spells make the Ohio River both feared and respected.
In 1888, the U.S. snag boat E.A. Woodruff removed 1225 snags, 127 large rocks, 46 new wrecks and 13 older wrecks. Photo from Clermont County Historical Society
During droughts, the Ohio River was reduced to a shallow course, only one to two feet deep. At these times it was possible to wade across the river. During the 1800s, several shallow points were important crossings for the Underground Railroad.
Because of its low depth, boats were designed with very shallow hulls. Even so, boats were frequently grounded for months or damaged by rocks and fallen trees.
Controlling the Ohio
As early as the 1820's ideas were implemented to create a safe, reliable transportation route on the Ohio River. In 1885, the first Ohio River dam was built-below Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Over the next several decades, 51 dams were built from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois. These would be later replaced by fewer, larger dams
Flooding is common on the Ohio River. The worst flood on record occurred in January 1937 when heavy rains combined with melting snow. The river reached a record 73 feet at Chilo. In the aftermath, only foundations remained where houses and businesses stood. The flood combined with the financial burden of the Great Depression was too much for many to overcome. Many Chilo residents left, never to return.
River to Lakes
The Ohio River continues to change. Dams converted the natural river system into a series of lakes. This has altered the dispersal of aquatic species, changed habitat and impeded the flow of silt and other material down river.
Dams raised the river level.
Walking across the Ohio River
is no longer possible. The
higher level backs water up
into tributaries, creating new
wetlands and backwater areas.
Erected by Clermont County Park District.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1937.
Location. 38° 47.388′ N, 84° 7.974′ W. Marker is in Chilo, Ohio, in Clermont County. Marker is on County Park Road, 0.3 miles east of Green Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 521 County Park Rd, Felicity OH 45120, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 17, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 490 times since then and 219 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 14, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.