GEOGRAPHIC INFLUENCES IN THE HISTORY OF
BY CHARLES G. SHATZER.
Professor of Geology, Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio.
Any one who seeks to glean the facts of the local history
of northwestern Ohio for the period of the '40's and '50's from
conversation with the men whose experience reaches into that
period, will hear repeated frequently the name, Milan. If in-
terest prompts the question: Where and what was Milan?, he
will be told in terms of marked respect of a market center of
long ago, of a village in northern Ohio to which yearly trips were
made for the purpose of marketing the grain of the region to the
A visit to the village will lead him to the south central part
of Erie County, and there, upon the east slope of the valley of
the Huron river, will be found a village of less than 1,000 inhab-
itants, many comfortable homes in beautiful lawns along shaded
streets. But the visitor will look in vain for the bustle and
activity of the grain marketing port of which he has been told.
He will hear only of the glory that is past.
Milan lies just north of the south line of Erie County, mid-
way between the east and west limits and about twelve miles
southeast of the port of Sandusky.
The prominence which the village had attained at one time
as a market can be traced in large measure to certain geographic
1. A broad, triangular hinterland of rich agricultural land.
2. A location upon a stream in part navigable, which, when
aided by a short canal, made Milan an inland, lake port.
3. Milan is located near the southern border of a sandy
belt which extends to the Lake and across which all of the
wagon roads must pass in order to reach the ports along the
south shore of Lake Erie. Even today these roads are not in-
292 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
viting lines of travel; at the end of the summer season when
the dry weather has left the sand loose and the roads compar-
atively heavy. The roads which approach Milan from the south
are of clay bed nearly to the village and are in the best of con-
dition at the time the grain is ready for the market. The canal
offered to this small inland town the advantages of cheap trans-
portation, and the elimination of a haul over exceptionally bad
roads. Milan took advantage of the position along a stream
capable of being utilized for canal purposes.
The causes of decline of Milan as a port were inherent in the
limitations of the influences, geographical, which contributed to
1. Elimination of the hinterland by the construction of the
Mansfield and Sandusky, and the Cleveland, Norwalk and To-
ledo R. R.'s. The lack of sufficient drawing power of the limited
port facilities of Milan as compared with the natural port, San-
dusky, to attract these railroads.
2. Increase of the size of the boats beyond the facilities of
3. Over confidence of the citizens of the village in the
efficacy of the canal and a lack of foresight into the possibilities
of the railroads.
Milan is located upon the site of Petquotting, the largest of
the indian villages in the region. The Moravian Missionaries had
established themselves in the Indian village in 1787 in large
enough numbers to be of influence. Six white men erected the
first log cabin in the village in 1810.1 In 1808, Jared Ward pur-
chased a part of 1800 acres, owned by David Abbott, and was
the first settler interested in the soil. By the time of the open-
ing of the War of 1812, Milan Township contained twenty-three
families and forty persons capable of bearing arms.2
The village of Beatty (Now Milan) was laid out in 1814
by E. Merry. Mr. Merry and Isaac Tupper erected a saw and
grist mill near the town and thus established the first industry
1History of Huron and Erie Counties, O. W. W. Williams, 1879.
2Hist. Col. of Ohio. Henry Howe, Norwalk, O., 1896. Vol. 1, p.
Geographic Influences in the History of Milan, Ohio. 293
which contributed to the growth of the village. The mill was
constructed in 1816 and, being one of the first mills in that part
of the state, drew grain for a distance of 50 miles.
The period preceeding 1815 was one of constant struggle
with the Indians for a foothold in the northwest. The open lines
of travel and the opposition of the English and the Indians caused
immigration during the War of 1812 and for some years after,
to follow the Ohio River.3 The end of the War and the com-
pletion of the Erie Canal in 1825 turned the tide towards the
Milan (Beatty of the period) was not of sufficient impor-
tance to receive notice in the Ohio Gazetteer of 1821. Sandusky
is spoken of as containing two stores and being the shipping point
of Lake Erie.
In 1824, Milan could boast: 32 houses, many very good; 2
brick houses; 4 mercantile stores; 1 tavern; 2 tanneries; 3 black-
smith shops; 2 tailor shops; 2 cabinet-maker shops; 1 gold-
smith shop; 1 potter; 1 shoe-maker's shop; 2 wagon-maker's
shops; 1 saddler; 1 lawyer's office; 280 inhabitants; 2 distilleries;
1 sawmill; 1 grist mill; 1 oil mill; 1 carding and clothing mill.5
A comparison of Milan, Huron and Sandusky for the year
6 Milan. 6 Huron. 7Sandusky.
Male inhabitants over twenty-one years 187 57 ...
Whole number of inhabitants ....... 675 211 594
Milan was the largest village in the country and the trading
post of the fur trade. The establishment of the Moravian Mis-
sion introduced an influence which gave a measure of pro-
tection to the settlers and thus, the impetus of an early start to
the village. Milan soon lost this early advantage. In 1839 the
Statistical Atlas of the U. S. Twelfth Census, Plates 4, 5 and 6.
Our Inland Seas. Shipping and Commerce for the Three Cen-
turies. J. O. Mills, 1910.
5Fire Lands Pioneer. New Series. Vol. 2, June, 1884. (Copied
from the Sandusky Clarion of 1824).
Fire Lands Pioneer. Old Series. June, 1864. (Copied from the
Norwalk, O., Reporter, of June 9th, 1827).
7 History of Erie Co., O., Aldrich, p. 236.
294 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
three villages showed populations of: Milan 600-700,8 Huron
1,2009, Sandusky 2,48010. The citizens of Milan evidently ap-
preciated the competition of their near rivals as early as 1824.
In that year, a movement was inaugurated to construct a canal
from Milan to a point three miles toward the mouth of the Huron
River. The idea was that Milan could retain, by this means, the
trade which she already had and further draw upon the trade
of the region to the south. The movement suggests that the peo-
ple recognized the drawing power of the harbor of Huron and
Sandusky and expressed the evaluation which Milan placed
upon retaining the trade which had been coming to her docks.
A commission was created and estimates of the cost of con-
structing a canal were made in 1824. The Ohio Legislature
granted a charter to the canal company in 1828 and actual work
was begun in 1832. The canal was completed in 1839 and was
practically as designed by the commission of 1824.
NOTE--(Formal statement of the authority invested in the Com-
mission by the State of Ohio).
"The engineers and the acting committee having carefully looked
the ground over which the canal will pass, marked out the route. At the
commencement of this, they find a very convenient situation for the sum-
mit pond, which may be formed by a very small dam over the Huron,
which from estimates from actual experience can be constructed for $300
with an ample supply of water for all seasons of the year. With this
expense the summit pond will be perfectly secure from flood."
"It is found by actual measurement of the fall of water the whole
distance of the contemplated canal, that it will be seven feet and six
inches. The whole ground over which the canal will pass is bottom land,
and the easiest kind of aquateneus earth for the excavation. The whole
distance is three miles and entirely of the above description of earth.
From excavations actually made, in the same kind of earth, it is found
that the excavation can be made at an expense of 6 cts. a sq. yard, and at
this rate a boat navigation of four feet deep and 30 ft. in width, may be
made at an expenditure of $1,500 per mile, and consequently the three
miles of the excavation, may be made for the sum of $4,500. Add to
this the dam and the excavation of the summit pond $300 equals $4,800.
It is believed that two locks may be necessary-one at or near the sum-
mit pond and one at the entrance of the canal from the river, at an ex-
8Ohio Gazetteer, 1839. Warren Jenkins, p. 301.
Idem. p. 234.
10Idem. p. 396.
Geographic Influences in the History of Milan, Ohio. 295
penditure of $300 each, to which add the above and we have the sum of
$5,400. Some grubbing of timber and other contingent expenses, say $400,
which added to the above, makes $5,800.
It is believed that this expense will be more than counter-balanced
by the great advantage which the thriving village of Milan will derive
from the canal. Nearly one-half of the above sum is already offered to
be advanced by responsible individuals.
P. H. HOPKINS, GEO. W. CHOATE,
CHARLES WHEATON, MR. BATES OF N. Y.,
-The Firelands Pioneer. New Series. Vol. 2, June, 1884.
(Copied from the Sandusky, O., Clarion, May 5th, 1824).
The canal was three miles long and extended from Milan to
the head of navigation on the Huron river at Fries' Landing.
Ordinarily the length is stated as being 10 mi. This statement
includes the portion of the river between Fries' Landing and
the Lake, which had been cleared and improved.
The final cost was $23,392.11 The calculated cost at the
inception of the work was $5,800. This amount was thought to
be sufficient for excavating the bed, building the locks and ex-
cavating the summit pond, thus providing for three miles of
canal with a width of thirty feet and a depth for boat navigation
of four feet.12 The receipts from tolls were $102,000, and $20,-
ooo were paid the stockholders in dividends.l3
H. S. Tanner speaking of the canal, said: [It] opens a
communication for the steamboats from the head of navigation
on the Huron river to Milan, a distance of three miles.14
The canal when completed was capable of accommodating
vessels of from 200 tons to 250 tons burden.15
11 Milan Tribune, September 2, 1843. Milan, Ohio.
12 The Fire Lands Pioneer. New Series, Vol. 2, June, 1884. (Copied
from the Sandusky Clarion of May 5th, 1824).
13History of the Firelands. Comprising Huron and Erie Counties,
Ohio. W. W. Williams. 1879.
14A Description of the Railroads and Canals of the U. S. H. S.
Tanner, New York, 1840. p. 210.
15 Historical Collection of Ohio, Henry Howe, 1908, Vol: I, p. 580.
296 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
The vessel Kewanne 150 tons, was the first vessel to reach
Milan via the canal. The vessel reached the docks July 4th, 1839
and was welcomed by a procession of the citizens.16
The canal construction was a successful attempt at moving
the lake port from the lake shore ten miles inland and had an im-
portant influence upon the development of Milan. The com-
16 History of Erie Co., O., Aldrich, 1889, p. 498.
Geographic Influences in the History of Milan, Ohio. 297
mercial advantage derived was only temporary, for it depended
upon the exportation of agricultural products of the region and
the consequent importation of goods from the eastern markets.
Transportation by wagon was expensive. Ten miles was a
good day's haul for the loaded teams. Much of the grain mar-
keted in Milan came from the ten or twelve counties to the south.
Some of it came from the region so far south as the National
Road. (See Map I.) The average price paid in Milan for
wheat per bushel in 1843 was $0.66 1/2-.67,17 from 1845-'4818
$0.86-.91; corn 1843, $0.2612/317 1845-48 $0.284/5-341/8; flour in 1845-
'48 $4.26-$4.74 bbl.18
During the same period wheat could be bought in the in-
terior for $0.25-.40 per bu., $.30-.45 a bu. was the cost of trans-
portation to market. Wheat raised in Franklin County and
marketed in Milan, a distance of 100 miles, paid $24-$30 per
load of 40 bu. for raising the grain and spending a week's time
of a man and a team of from four to seven horses in transport-
ing it to market. The Milan canal saved the produce at least a
day's haul. The cost of moving freight over common roads
was $0.15 per ton mile. The cost upon the Ohio canals, estab-
lished by the Board of Canal Commissioners, Columbus, O., Feb.
21, 1833 for each 1,000 lbs. and in the same proportion for any
lesser or greater weight of
Flour, bread or other articles For each mile not exceed-
manufactured from flour... ing 100 miles............ 0 7
Each mi. in addition to
Wheat, salt, etc.............. 100 mi. not exceeding 200
miles 19. .................. 0 5
The cost of moving a wagon load of 40 bu. of wheat each
mile within a radius of 1OO miles was 1.68 cts. as compared
with 18 cents by wagon, which meant to the producer a saving
of 16.32 cts. per load mile.
17Milan Tribune, 1843.
18 Milan Tribune, 1845-'48.
19 Patent Office Report, 1847. Ex. Doc. No. 54, p. 566.
298 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
This reduction in the cost of haul and saving of time made
Milan rather attractive as a market. Transportation was the
large problem of the time.
"Three nearly coincident improvements contributed to the
rapid development of this section of the country, to-wit, The
Milan Canal, and the Mad River and the Monroeville and San-
dusky R. R. The.first of these, for some years, attracted the
greatest amount of interior trade, some idea of which may be
formed when it is stated that from I824-1850, Milan was the
chief market for 10-12 counties. At one time, it was one of the
greatest grain markets of the state, being exceeded by Massillon
The hinterland included Huron, Richland, Knox, Marion,
Crawford, part of Seneca and Lorain Counties, no doubt Ash-
land, Morrow and several other counties.21 The trade extended
south to Franklin and Champaign counties and wagons from 60
to 80 miles towards the south were not uncommon in the streets
Table I shows the extent of the export trade of the port
for a succession of years.
EXPORTS OF THE PORT OF MILAN, O.
Products. 221842 221843 231844 24846 251847 261851
Wheat, bu .......... 368,255 506,966 645,832 650,229 917,880 258,778
Corn, bu .......... 27,157 *7,706 . ....... 17,844 137,935 220,264
Flour, bbl .......... 5,163 13,629 10,591 1,257 7,182 1,763
W ool, lbs .......... 893 30,840 ................................
20Fire Lands Pioneer. N. S. Vol. 7, p. 43, Clarke Waggoner.
21 Ohio Gazetteer, Warren Jenkins, Columbus, 1841.
22The Milan Tribune, Dec. 14th, 1843.
2Sandusky Clarion, Dec. 28th, 1844.
24Patent Office Report. 1847. p. 586.
26 Sandusky Weekly Register, Jan. 10th, 1852.
* The Milan Tribune of Nov. 2, 1843, states that 8,006 bu. had been
shipped to that date.
Geographic Influences in the History of Milan, Ohio. 299
In one week 98,000 bu. of wheat were received there from
teams,27 twenty sailing vessels were loaded in a day and between
30,000 and 40,000 bu. of grain placed upon board.
In 1847, Ohio produced 16,800,000 bu. of wheat28 of which
917,880 bu. or 5.46% were marked via Milan. In the same
year 7,182 bbl. of flour, which represented approximately 32,319
bu. of wheat were marketed through the same port. Of the pro-
duction of wheat for that year 5,500,000 bu. were needed for
home consumption,29 which means that 10,250,000 bu. were avail-
able for export of which nearly 10% went east by way of Milan.
In 1839 eleven warehouses with a storage capacity of 300,000 bu.
were hardly sufficient to care for the grain.30 Later when the
village was at its height commercially there were fourteen ware-
houses at the docks. The exports were the direct products of
the soil or the outgrowths of activities associated with agricul-
ture. Consequently, the fluctuation of the yearly prosperity of
the village was commensurate with the yearly production of the
hinterland which did its marketing thru the merchants of the
village. When the season produced a short crop, Milan's bulk
of business registered the extent of the crop failure, and, what
is more important, when the territory contributing to Milan's
material prosperity was extensively reduced by the railroads
offering more accessibe transportation and ready communication
with better harbors, Milan suffered from that reduction in the
territory contributing to her wealth.
Great quantities of other produce passed thru the port as
may be seen in table 2. But most of this was so inherently as-
sociated with the grain trade that when the traffic in that bulky
article was reduced the other trade also declined.
27The Fire Lands Pioneer, N. S. Vol. 1, p. 43.
28Sandusky Commercial Register, Aug. 8th, 1855.
29 Patent Office Report. 1847. p. 547.
30Fire Lands Pioneer. N. S. Vol. 13, p. 719.
300 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
PORT OF MILAN.
Exports. 1842 1843
Wheat ............................. Bushels 368,255 506,966
Corn ............................... 27,157 7,706
Oats ............................... 5,570 907
Pork ............................... Barrels 8,254 4,435
Flour ............................. " 5,163 13,629
Ashes .............................. " 715 1,647
High Wines ......................... 582 876
Beef ............................... " 8 622
Timothy seed ....................... " 268 1,553
Tallow .......................... " ...... 62
Lard ............................... " 207 420
Lard ............................... Kegs 197 447
Butter ............................. " 586 807
Butter ............................. Barrels 118 22
Flax seed ........................... " ...... 230
Clover seed ......................... " 49 33
Hides ............................... Pounds ...... 17,900
Wool .............................. " ...... 30,000
Feathers ........................... " 366 1,361
Staves ............................ 456,576 724,048
Hogs, alive ......................... Tons ...... 36
Imports. 1842 1843
Merchandise ........................ Pounds 830,135 2,652,702
Salt ............................... Barrels 11,312 10,630
Fish ............................... " 428 940
Plaster ............................. " 167 413
Lumber ............................ Feet 68,131 71,589
Shingles ............................ M. 707 319
Shingle bolts........................ Cords 79 126
Stone .......................... " 15 10
219 vessels arrived in 1843.31
During the week Aug. 12th,-25th, 1845, twelve vessels en-
tered and cleared from the port. The bulk of the cargoes of the
vessels entering consisted of; merchandise, salt and shingle bolts.
Five of them were in ballast. When they cleared they carried;
wheat, staves, pork, butter, general merchandise and ashes.32
31The Milan Tribune, December 4th, 1843.
32The Milan Tribune, Aug. 27th, 1845. Milan, Ohio.
Geographic Influences in the History of Milan, Ohio. 301
There were fourteen arrivals and thirteen clearances in the
week beginning Sept. 4th, and ending Sept. 10th, 1848. The
cargoes of the arrivals consisted of general merchandise, salt,
water lime and plank. Three were in ballast. When they cleared
they carried: wheat, pork, corn, oats, wool, butter, flour, leather,
shingles and cheese.33 These are representative weeks of the
fall. The total value of the export trade in 1844 was $825,098,
imports $634,711, of which $585,300 consisted of general mer-
chandise.34 The estimated value of the export trade in 1847 was
$1,250,000.35 By 1851, the export trade had dwindled to $435,-
816,36 while the imports amounted to $690,185.37
Sandusky, on the other hand, was developing her trade
under the influence of her railroads and harbor. In 1844 the
exports from that port were valued at $813,83038 the imports
at $44,729.75. In 1851 the exports amounted to $6,459,659 and
the imports to $15,985,357.39 The extent of the trade which
Milan enjoyed in the late forties may be attributed to the in-
efficient facilities of the railroads and upon the inertia of the
farmers along the route in availing themselves of the new method.
of transportation. There is no doubt that the utilization of the
railroads must have lagged behind the construction four or five
years. The above stated value of the exports and the imports
as well as the quantitative figures of table I indicate clearly how
effectively the railroads eliminated Milan as a port when the
farmers realized their efficiency and availability.
The crest of the commercial prosperity was reached in the
late forties. Graph 1 and Table 1. (Note.)
Ohio was a pioneer railroad state and many projects for
33Idem. Sept. 13th, 1845.
34 Sandusky Clarion, Dec. 28th, 1844. Sandusky, Ohio.
35 Patent Office Report, 1847, p. 586. Washington, D. C.
36 Sandusky Weekly Register, Jan. 10th, 1852. Sandusky, Ohio.
37 Idem. Feb. 19th, 1853.
38 Sandusky Clarion, Dec. 28th, 1844. Sandusky, Ohio.
39Andrew's Colonial and Lake Trade. House Doc. 136, 1852.p. 176.
Washington, D. C. (These figures are higher than those for the same
year in other sources but Andrews states that they are copied from the
report of the collector of the port).
302 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
railroad building were launched during the decades of '30's and
'40's. Very few of these projects attained material realization.
The disappointment of the people of Sandusky when the
city was not made the terminus of the Miami Canal stimulated
their interest in the building of railroads.42 This interest re-
suited in the chartering of the Mansfield, Sandusky and Newark
R. R. The road was constructed in sections and under different
charters. The section from Sandusky to Monroeville was
chartered in 1835 and was completed before the southern part
42History of Erie Co., O. Aldrich, p. 264.
Geographic Influences in the History of Milan, Ohio. 303
which extended from Mansfield to New Haven. The section
between New Haven and Monroeville bridged the gap of fifteen
miles and established complete communication between Mansfield
and the Lake. John Sherman said that the purpose of the road
was to give better transportation facilities for the products of
the interior towards the lake ports.43
"In the month of September (1845) the construction train
brought salt and other merchandise to Plymouth. This train
continued to run during the fall and winter, carrying back to
Sandusky wheat in bags, and produce in barrels, upon the little
open cars then in use.44
The first train to cover the whole of the road entered Mans-
field sometime between May 16th, and June 19th, 1846.45
This railroad penetrated the very heart of the agricultural
region which had been contributing to the wealth of Milan.
The advantages offered by the railroads over the wagon
and team method of transportation soon made themselves felt in
Milan. Mansfield became a center for the buying and selling
of produce. Ware-houses were constructed and the teams which
had been helping to block the streets of Milan now began to con-
gregate in Mansfield and other villages along the line of the
railroad. It was a matter of comment, in 1846, that the mer-
chants of Mansfield were paying the same for wheat as was being
offered in Milan.46 Plymouth had a ware-house erected before
the grain of 1846 was ready for the market. Now for the first
time, the grain shipped over the railroad was marketed in bulk,
rather than in bags and barrels. The cars were open, covered
with canvas and tarpaulin and had a capacity of 140 bu. De-
velopment was rapid and the decline of Milan's receipts soon
showed that this new railroad had absorbed the trade which had
43Fire Lands Pioneer, N. S. Vol. 6, March, 1891. p. 116.
NOTE: The report from Milan was not given separately after 1847,
but was a part of the district.
44 W. W. Drennan in Hist. of Richland Co., O. A. A. Graham. 1886.
45 Idem. p. 303 (Andrews in his Colonial and Lake Trade, says 1847.
46Idem. p. 305.
304 Ohio Arch. and Hist. Society Publications.
been passing thru that port's warehouses. By 1853, the road
enjoyed the monopoly of the grain trade of north central Ohio.47
The newspapers carried schedules of the regular trains between
Sandusky and Mansfield. Passengers could leave Sandusky
every morning at 5 A. M. and by means of stage from Mansfield
reach Columbus the same day and Cincinnati the next morning
at 10:00. The return trains left Mansfield at 4 P. M. and
reached Sandusky at 7 P. M.
Passage, Sandusky to Mansfield, by passenger train, $1.75.
Passage, Sandusky to Mansfield, by freight train, $1.25.
Freights left Sandusky each day (except Sunday) at 2 P. M.
Freights left Mansfield each day (except Sunday) at 10
The rates at which goods were forwarded were:
Light goods ........................... 183/4 cts. per 100 Ibs.
Heavy goods .......................... 161/4 " " "
The agents of the railroads advertised that the merchants
of Tuscarawas, Richland, Knox, Holmes, Licking, Franklin,
Delaware, Union, Morrow and Crawford counties were fav-
ored by this new enterprise.48
In 1852-'53 another railroad, the Toledo, Norwalk and Cleve-
land was completed.49 It entered Norwalk which is situated just
south of Milan, and which had been but a "side show" to Milan
commercially, truncating the hinterland of Milan, no doubt con-
tributing to the decline which had been so effectively begun by the
Mansfield and Sandusky road.
The wheat shipment from Milan in 1851 was 258,778 bu.
slightly more than one-fourth of the shipment of 1847 despite
the increased production which must have taken place in Ohio
thru the stimulus of the new transportation facilities and the
employment of better agricultural methods.
The shipment of corn was 220,265 bu. as compared with
137,935 in 1847, flour 1,763 bbl. as compared with 7,182 bbl. of
47 Idem. p. 305.
48 Sandusky Clarion, Aug. 4th, 1846.
49 Andrew's Report of Colonial and Lake Trade. H. Doc. 136, 1853.
Geographic Influences in the History of Milan, Ohio. 305
Milan suffered the inevitable and gradually lost commercial
importance. The last vessel was taken down the canal in 1865.
The next winter the locks were demolished by the ice and the
spring freshets finished the destruction.
Milan numbered among its industries ship building. A num-
ber of firms engaged in this enterprise during the years of pros-
perity. In 1843 a visitor in the village wrote home to New Hamp-
shire: "Several brigs and other sail have been built here within
the last two years. An extensive slaughtering house is now go-
ing up, and the future prospects of the business are highly en-
couraging."50 As late as February of 1855 there were nine ves-
sels of from 250 to 300 tons burden in the process of construction
at the ship yards. Including these nine vessels sixteen craft had
been built for the lake trade within a year. They had an ag-
gregate tonnage of 4,000 tons, and were valued at $128,000. As-
sociated with this construction work were the usual small indus-
tries necessary for furnishing the equipment which went with the
vessels. The oak for the vessels was abundant in the region, and
what was not used locally had established another industry of the
community in that much material was shipped to the other ves-
sel building points along the lake.51
Milan rose to temporary commercial importance because she
took advantage of the possibility of becoming an artificial lake
port for a broad, agricultural hinterland. A short, inexpensive
canal overcame the obstacle of bad roads. But the obstacle which
contributed to the rise contributed to the fall, the poor roads of
the sandy belt were capable of being overcome in too many ways.
The short canal leading to a river of limited navigability was not
a sufficiently great improvement to maintain itself. Robbed of
the hinterland by a rapid and cheaper means of transportation,
Milan has become a village known only for the glory of the past.
The limited capacity of her artificial harbor facilities gave her
practically no consideration when the railroads were looking for
terminal facilities and had the natural, and large harbors of San-
dusky and Huron at their command for the asking.
50 Milan Tribune, Nov. 9, 1843.
51 Sandusky Commercial Advertiser, Feb. 24, 1855.
Vol. XXIII - 20.