Another Chapter in the Conneaut Harbor Story

Conneaut Ohio Harbor 1896

Source: Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) Page 14 , Sharon Wick

Dated Mar. 28, 1895
The “Plymouth Rock” of Ohio is One of the Most Promising Harbors on the South Shore of Lake Erie.

CONNEAUT HARBOR, the “Plymouth Rock” of Ohio, is one of the most promising harbors on the southern shore of Lake Erie.  About July 3, 1796, a party of fifty-two surveyors landed.  On July 4, they started to build a storehouse, which completed furnished them a place for supplies and also shelter until they were prepared to advance farther south.  From the time they left the port nothing was done until about the year 1825.  During the year 1825 the first appropriation was made and docks were built, which were in good shape until a few years ago.

The first dredging at this harbor was done in the year 1837 by Contractor DavidNoble.  From 1825 until 1869 Conneaut harbor was the largest and best port on this shore of the lake, all boats stopping there for fuel.  A great passenger business was also carried on.  Such steamers as the Charter, Indiana, and Southern made regular stops, besides exporting a great quantity of lumber, staves, wheat and oats.  The imports were mostly supplies for the surrounding country.  Wagons came from Pittsburg, in fact from all of those cities, for their supplies.

There were five large warehouses located along the river owned by John Hall, Calvin Appleby, Ike Ford and A. Fargo.  Between the aforesaid mentioned years (1825-1860) a large number of boats were built here, being second to none in size.  Capt. O. Capron, who was perhaps the most prominent in ship building, still resides in Conneaut.  Some of the boats built by him were as follows: Monitor, Anna Maria, Conneaut, Valentine, T. B. Rice, M. Capron, Scow, Times.  There were also a number of boats built by other parties, as the steamers North America, Constitution, Constellation, Brig, Banner, Lucy A. Blossom, the schooners Nightingale, Indianola, Telegraph, Traveler, O’Grailla, Rosenberg, Richards, J. W. Brown, May Gathrie, Venture, Conneaut Packet, Kate Jillet, Sea Bird, H. G. Stamback, Henry McKinney, J. B. Skinner, Dan Markle, Snow Drop and many others. 

From  1865 until 1888 there was scarcely anything done.  During 1888, however, Col. Dick of Meadville, Pa., assisted by A. M. Cox, S. J. Smith, G. M. Whitney, A. C. Huidico_per, succeeded in getting a railroad from the coal fields to the harbor and from that time on things began to boom.  In 1890 the P. & L. E. railroad was completed, the docks rebuilt and three dredges put to work widening the channel and now the largest boat that ___s the lake can turn without the least of trouble.  Four Brown hoists were built and afterwards two King hoists were put up besides this the harbor supports ten whirligigs. 

In 1893 the receipts of ore was 203,207 tons, the shipments 135,930, leaving a balance on dock May 1, ’04, of 68,484 tons.  IN ’94 the receipts were 237,905 tons; on dock Dec. 1, ’94, 199,365 tons, on dock March 1, ’95, 157,544 tons. 

Besides the ore handled, there was in 1893, 23,183 tons of coal shipped and in’94, 89,023 tons, which shows a steady growth and the outlook for the coming season is very flattering.  With the two Conneaut and Port Dover ferryboats under construction.  Conneaut expects to do an immense business.