Ohio and Eries Canal Letterbox Series  LbNA # 19765 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateDec 26 2005
LocationCuyahoga Hts/Valley View, OH
Found By Wee Walkers
Last Found Nov 22 2009
Hike Distance?

Ohio and Erie Canal Letterbox Series
Ohio and Erie Canal Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks
Planted December 26, 2005
Nearest City: meanders through Cuyahoga Hts and Valley View, OH
Difficulty: easy
Time: 1.5 hours
Number of boxes: 4

***3 reported missing***
7/22/07: will start recarving and relocating!

Go to www.clemetparks.com for directions to this Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks.
You will want to find your way to the Whittlesey Way entrance to the Reservation and make your way to the CanalWay Center.


In 1817 New York State broke ground on a canal to connect Lake Erie with the Hudson River and New York City. Three years later, in 1822, the Ohio State legislature approved the first canal feasibility survey in an attempt to bring a modern transportation system to our growing state.
On July 4, 1825, construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal began. By 1832, the entire 308 mile route of the Ohio-Erie was open for use.

Thousands of hard-working men and boys labored long and hard to hand-dig this canal. Most of the workers were settlers who lived along the canal route. Joining them were
experienced canal-diggers who had worked on the Erie Canal in New York. Plows,shovels and wooden scoops carved out millions of yards of clay, rock, shale and mud hauled away in wheelbarrows. For all this work, these canal-diggers earned “30 cents a day, food, whiskey and shanty”.

Not only was the work hard, diseases, such as cholera, smallpox, typhoid fever, dysentery, and malaria, struck men who drank from the water or who were bitten by the
plentiful mosquitoes. These diseases became collectively known as ‘Canal Fever’ and took many lives. There was said to be “a dead Irishman for every mile of the canal”.
Brecksville’s River Cemetery (one of the many cemeteries along the canal) contains the graves of more than 100 canal workmen.

Even though the Ohio & Erie Canal transformed the region from wilderness to populated prosperity, it was fairly short-lived. By 1855 the impact of the railroads began to be felt. People soon preferred taking the fast train rather than the slow-moving canal boat. When the flood of 1913 washed out the banks of the Ohio & Erie Canal, this important era in the development of Ohio came to an end.

Within the Ohio & Erie Reservation, you will find a Nature Center with wonderful displays, as well as wayside interpretive stations relating the story of Cleveland’s early settlement, Cleveland’s early industries and the natural world of this ‘hidden valley’.


Park across from the CanalWay Center. Head toward the CanalWay Center (go in and enjoy the exhibits and pick up a trail map), then start down the paved trail to the left of the Center. Make a left at the signpost to the Overlook – stop and appreciate the view before heading downhill on the paved trail. When this trail deadends into another paved trail, take a left.

Soon you will see a side trail going through a large sewer pipe – take this trail. Walk on the railroad ties. Go past the 345 kilovolt Insulators. 18 railroad ties will get you to the deck. Go to the south (on your left) white handrail and step behind it (yes, off to the outside of the handrail) and look below the corner support to find the Systems letterbox.

Return to the all-purpose trail. Cross the bridge over the Canal. This trail, too, deadends into another paved trail – turn right. Take the first paved trail on the left (you can see outdoor classroom stones on left of trail you’re to be on). Soon you will see a Farm Implement Exhibit on your right.

You’ll see the ‘Just Passing Through’ overlook first on yur left. Just before your reach the circular display about petroleum storage tanks, you will notice a three sister tree on the right-hand side. Nestled in the crook of the tree is the People Letterbox. When this trail rejoins the main all-purpose trail, bear left. The Canal is now on your right.

Follow this trail up to the Furnace Ridge Overlook. Note the Oxbow Formation embedded in the pavement, and the great view of the river below. When you are finished enjoying the view, walk 18 paces from the exhibit following the gravel path. Look for a 3 trunked tree and search behind (and toward the river) for the Utility letterbox.

Go back down the hill from the overlook and turn left. Follow this trail, and signs along the wayback toward the Visitor’s Center. Cross the bridge over the Canal. Part way up the hill, on your left, is the Blue Heron Boardwalk Loop Trail. Follow the trail to the left of the Trail Exhibit. You can enjoy the little offshoot viewing area and then continue along the trail to find the letterbox. Shortly after the viewing area you’ll see a large knarly tree on the left side of the path. Walk on the path to just beyond the tree, go down the small decline, and look at the base of the tree for the final box of the series, the Nature letterbox. Return to the path, complete the trail loop over the boardwalk and back to the all-purpose trail and continue back up the hill to your car.