Beaver Creek
Sandy & Beaver Canal

The Canal: The Sandy & Beaver canal when completed was 73 miles long with 30 dams and 90 locks. Chartered in January 1828 the first boat completed the full journey on January 9, 1848, just two days before the twenty year completion date set by the charter. It was divided into three divisions, the Eastern Division, Middle Division and Western Division. The eastern and western divisions were prosperous sections, the middle division had structural problems and therefore the full potential of the canal was never realized. 

Eastern Division 

The Eastern Division of the Sandy and Beaver Canal started two miles west of New Lisbon (Lisbon), at Lockbridge, flowing to the mouth of the Beaver Creek, at Glasgow, on the Ohio River. It was 27 miles long of which 17 miles were slackwater. Elevation at Lockbridge was 1120 feet and at the Ohio River 655 feet, giving a rise of 465 feet. There were 57 locks with an average 8 foot lift and 20 dams. 

New Lisbon: Located about halfway between New York and Chicago on the Lincoln Highway the village of New Lisbon, renamed Lisbon in 1898 was first settled in 1803. It sits on the big bend of the middle fork of the Little Beaver Creek. A few weeks after the formation of New Lisbon Columbiana County was formed and the town became the county seat. When the Sandy & Beaver Canal Company was formed New Lisbon was a natural place for their headquarters. 

Elkton: In 1835 when work on the canal was progressing a town was surveyed in the valley near the mouth of the Elk Run on Beaver Creek. With the renewal of interest in the canal in 1844 William Kemble built a canal warehouse and store in Elkton, equipping it with a large windlass, mounted on the second floor, for loading and unloading canal boats. 

Middle Beaver: Platted in 1835, the village with sixty lots along the canal was named for the Middle Fork of Beaver Creek. It disappeared with the canal. 

Williamsport: In 1811 William Crawford, built a saw mill at the point where the West Fork and the Middle Fork of the creek met. Three locks were planned in this area and therefore, he platted a village on his property. 

Sprucevale: James Brookes built a small grist mill and flax seed oil mill here in 1810. In 1813 the property was purchased by the Hambleton brothers who built east of the road another larger grist mill. It sits on the Calcutta-Clarkson Road. When the canal was being constructed a new village was platted with twenty lots along the canal. The town was busy when the canal was running. The town was run mostly by the Hambleton brothers who owned the grist mill, store and post office, woolen factory and family farm. There was a blacksmith, flax seed oil mill and a saw mill. All were powered by the water from the canal dam. Twelve to fifteen families were supported by the canal work. The village no longer exists except for Hambleton's grist mill, whose walls can still be seen along with the remains of Gretchen's Lock in this part of Beaver Creek State Park. 

          Gretchen's Lock 

"Gretchen's Lock" near Sprucevale still stands in Beaver Creek State Park, under disrepair. There are several legends that go along with the lock.  One such legend is of E.H. Gill, canal engineer and his daughter Gretchen. According to the legend E.H. Gill, his wife and daughter were travelling from Europe to the United States, his wife died on the way and was buried at sea. The grief stricken father and his little daughter, Gretchen, completed the journey. At the time the lock above Sprucevale was being built, Gretchen contracted malaria and died. A crypt was prepared in the masonry of the lock and Gretchen was entombed there for a while. When Gill resigned during the panic of 1837 and decided to return to Europe Gretchen's casket was removed from the crypt in the lock and taken aboard ship to be returned home for burial. On the trip, a storm at sea took the ship and all were lost. E.H. Gill and Gretchen joined their wife and mother in the waters of the Atlantic. 

Another legend revolves around a bride who is said to appear at the locks on a certain day each year.

Martinsburgh: Situated twelve miles east of New Lisbon and two miles north of West Union (now Calcutta), four and one half miles southwest of Achortown, five miles north of Little Beaver Bridge and one-fourth mile from Hambleton's lower mill. This is how it was described but little or no information is known if it even existed. 

Fredericktown: Fredericktown was not on the canal as the village lay north of the Beaver Creek and the canal to the south, however a covered bridge was built across the creek and it became very much a canal town. Established in 1811 when Moses Dilloan built a grist mill and a saw mill, the property was purchased in 1815 by George Frederick and Frederick's Mills ran until 1847. Platted in November 1832 it was the first new village on the Sandy & Beaver Canal. It was expanded in 1835. At this point it was complete in size. Not one new building, except the schoolhouse, which still stands, has been added since. Along with the grist mill and saw mill there was a paint mill, stave mill, a tannery, shoe shop, three cooper shops, a ship yard, two blacksmiths (one for democrats & one for republicans!!!), two or three stores, a post office and a physician. 

Jamestown: This was a small suburb of Fredericktown and only survives in county records. It was across the creek, south of Fredericktown. in 1824 Joseph Stockdale built a grist mill and saw mill. They were later purchased by John Wollam who bought the town and operated the mills until 1867. 

Grimms Bridge: Grimms Bridge was a thriving community of paper mills even before the coming of the canal. The Ohio Paper Mill, owned by John Bever, located here in 1808, was the first paper mill north of the Ohio River and west of Pennsylvania. The mills thrived under various owners until the 1850's when a lack of capital and expenses forced their closing. 

Glasgow, Beaver, PA: Situated at the mouth of the Beaver Creek where it ran into the Ohio River. After the canal
disappeared it had another prosperous time during the oil boom just after the Civil War. The Island Run Oil field was up the creek a few miles from Glasgow through which all traffic had to run. This community is now called Smithferry, PA. 

The above was "borrowed" from the complete history of . . 


Myths & Legends
Still helping ELO
Sprucevale Lookout
Bridge - Echo Dell
Sprucevale Bridge
Grimm's Bridge
Hamblin's Mill
Creek - near Grimms Bridge
Beaver Creek State Park
The Tubs
Maps & links
Canoe trip ????