Mary Jane Thurston State Park

1466 State Route 65
McClure , OH 43534

419-832-7662   |
Daily 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Settlement and the Canal in Northwest Ohio

The land that developed into what is today Mary Jane Thurston State Park connects visitors with a history that follows the Maumee River. The public can enjoy some of the Maumee’s resources while immersing themselves in the areas natural and industrial history.

Mary Jane Thurston State Park began as fourteen acres of land donated by a Grand Rapids school teacher in 1928 under the condition that the land be used as a park. Opened in 1968, the park sits directly across from Providence Metropark near the Providence Dam. Its location along the river showcases the area’s rich canal history; but, unlike the parks situated across the Maumee, it was not developed on old canal lands. The Miami and Erie Canal ran on the opposite side of the river during the nineteenth century and fostered economic prosperity in towns along its path. The residents of Grand Rapids – where a portion of Mary Jane Thurston State Park is located today – were angered the canal would not benefit their town. As construction of the dam that was meant to serve Providence progressed, residents of Grand Rapids dynamited the structure several times, resulting in the state constructing a small feeder canal that would serve Grand Rapids alone, which still stands today. The park’s location allows visitors to experience the Maumee River’s connection to the area’s canal history.

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Additional Resources

Canals for a Nation: The Canal Era in the United States, 1790-1860, Ronald E. Shaw.