Ohio History Video

This is an excerpt from a video produced for the 2003 bicentennial of Ohio. This clip highlights a lot of what you will be learning.

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Labor Day

The Father of Labor Day?

Express-Times Photo | Marilyn Sweerus holds a picture of her grandfather, Matthew Maguire, who she says was responsible for Labor Day.

Express-Times Photo | Marilyn Sweerus holds a picture of her grandfather, Matthew Maguire, who she says was responsible for Labor Day.

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”
But Peter McGuire’s place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday.

Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.


American Made Toys

American Plastic Toys

Little Tikes

Do you have any American made toys in your toy box?

Practice Quiz: Weather

Are you ready for this?  No, you are not.  Fear not because you will be soon.  If you are feeling particularly ambitious right now, then jump in and try this practice quiz.  After-all, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Let me tell you.  You could fail the practice quiz!  That is the worst thing that could happen!  Are you willing to take that chance?  I thought so.

Try the Practice Quiz

Martin Luther King Day

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

Learn more: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Canal Boats

“Locking Through” How a Lock Works

Locks are hydraulic elevators used to lower or raise boats from one canal level to the next. The flash-movie shows the “locking through” steps of moving a boat from the upper level to the lower level of the canal.


Instead of following the slope of the land like a river, canals takes vertical steps between levels of flat water. This was accomplished by using a series of locks. The lock’s hand-operated gates were simple, virtually unchanged from Leonardo da Vinci’s original design.

As the boat approached the lock, the upper sluice valves were opened and water in the lock was raised to the level of the upstream canal. The upper gates were then opened and the boat entered the lock.

Entering the lock was the most demanding part of canalling. The boat fit the lock with only 3 inches to spare on both sides. If a helmsman were to allow a loaded boat to hit the lock walls, he could damage or even sink his boat. A mistake like this could also damage the masonry walls of the lock.

Once the boat got to the lock, it had to have enough momentum to go all the way in, but had to be stopped before it crashed into the gate at the other end. A crew member would jump ashore and turn a heavy rope around a snubbing post to brake the boat. This wasn’t the easiest of tasks: too tight and the momentum of the boat would break the post and the boat would crash into the far gate. Too loose and the boat wouldn’t stop in time and would hit the far gate.

Once the boat was safely inside the lock, the upper gates and their sluice valves were closed. Sluice valves in the lower gates were then opened, allowing water to empty from the lock. The boat was lowered slowly as the water in the lock dropped to the level of the downstream canal. The lower gates were then opened, and the boat proceeded on the lower level of the canal.

Ohio History: Harmars Expedition

Harmar’s Expedition

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