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Kayak  Great Miami and The Mad River

Learn the history of these Scenic Ohio rivers

Historic River Route
A float trip down the mostly pristine, undisturbed lower Great Miami River is like going back in time.  It's easy to imagine the river as the Shawnee Indians' major transportation route, and later used by the French fur traders.  In the 1700's, the river was the waterway to transport new settlers and supplies into territories north of the Ohio River.  As Dayton and other settlements developed, the Great Miami was populated with flat boats loaded with goods to trade south - as far as Louisville and on to New Orleans.


Native Miami Indians

The river is named for the Miami Algonquian Native American , an -speaking  people who lived in the region during the early days of European settlement. They were forced to relocate to the west to escape European-American settlement pressure.

Miami & Erie Canal

Miami and Erie Canal,  which connected  the Ohio River with Lake Erie was built through the Great Miami watershed. The first portion of the canal, from  Cincinnati to Middletown was operational in 1828, and extended to Dayton in 1830. Water from the Great Miami fed into the canal.  A later extension to the canal, the Sidney Feeder, drew water from the upper reaches of the Great Miami from near Port Jefferson  and Sidney  . The canal served as the principal north-south route of transportation from Toledo to Cincinnati for western Ohio until being supplanted in the 1850s by railroads.

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Ohio Flood of 1913

The Great Dayton Flood of 1913 resulted from flooding by the Great Miami River reaching Dayton, Ohio, and the surrounding area, causing the greatest natural disaster in Ohio history. In response, the General Assembly passed the Vonderheide Act to enable the formation of conservancy districts. The Miami Conservancy District, which included Dayton and the surrounding area, became one of the first major flood control districts in Ohio and the United States.The Dayton flood of March 1913 was caused by a series of severe winter rain storms that hit the Midwest in late March. Within three days, 8–11 inches (200–280 mm) of rain fell throughout the Great Miami River watershed on already saturated soil, resulting in more than 90 percent runoff.

Main Street Dayton, Ohio March 25, 1913

Birthplace of Aviation
Dayton plays a role in a nickname given to the state of Ohio, "Birthplace of Aviation." Dayton is the hometown of the Wright brothers, aviation pioneers who are credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane. After their first manned flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, which they had chosen due to its ideal weather and climate conditions, the Wrights returned to Dayton and continued testing at nearby Huffman Prairie.

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Miamisburg Ohio Mound

The Miamisburg Mound is best known but least understood major prehistoric Indian feature in Ohio. It is the largest conical shaped earthwork of its kind in the United States and possible the world. Originally, it measured 68 or more feet in height. As a result of at least one attempt to excavate it, the height of the Miamisburg Mound has been reduced to 65 feet. The circumference is 877 feet.  Indian Mound (pictured above) – Once serving as an ancient burial site, the Mound stands as perhaps the most recognizable historic landmark in Miamisburg. It is the largest conical burial Mound east of the Mississippi River and remains virtually intact from its origins hundreds of years ago.

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