Providence Metropark

13801 S River Rd.
Grand Rapids , OH 43522

419-407-9700   |
Daily from 7 a.m. until dark

The Miami & Erie Canal in Northwest Ohio

Providence Metropark showcases Northwest Ohio’s canal history and remaining undeveloped environment for the enjoyment of the public. Public programs offered along the river and at the historic sites in the park immerse visitors in the history of nineteenth century Ohio.

Providence Metropark is one of Metroparks Toledo’s river parks that developed out of Ohio’s deep-rooted canal heritage. The park offers visitors an immersive, interactive experience of Miami and Erie Canal history. Ohio’s canals were essential to transportation and trade in the nineteenth century. The Miami and Erie Canal and the Ohio and Erie Canal connected Lake Erie to the Ohio River and elevated the economy of canal towns along its path. The Village of Providence thrived along the waterway, and earned the reputation as a rough-and-tumble canal town. Transportation along Ohio’s canals began to slow in the late nineteenth century as the construction of railroads offered a more efficient mode of travel. Some canal boats still functioned into the twentieth century, but it was determined that continued maintenance of the canals would have been a waste of resources, and the state faced the decision of what would become of old canal lands. A community push for conservation and preservation of the state’s natural resources led to a decision to lease a portion of the abandoned land to the Toledo Metropolitan Board in the 1930s. Using labor and resources provided by the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps, Providence became the second Metropark to open to the public. Today, visitors can experience what it was like to travel on the canal in the nineteenth century and enjoy the beauty of Providence’s landscape along the Maumee River.

Read More

Notes for Travelers

Providence Metropark offers an experience that transports you back in time to what it was like to travel on the canal in the nineteenth century. Similar to other metroparks along the river, original canal structures are still visible and showcase the waterway’s history. Visitors can ride on a mule-drawn canal boat, visit the Isaac Ludwig Mill, a water-powered saw and grist mill, or view a limestone lock and Providence Dam. The public can enjoy shelter houses and bridges constructed by the WPA and CCC in the 1930s. Providence connects to Bend View and Farnsworth Metroparks via the Towpath Trail, allowing visitors the opportunity to hike or drive to several parks along the scenic Maumee River.

Additional Resources

The Transition: A Tale of Northwestern Ohio, George W. Pearson.

Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920, Samuel P. Hayes.

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