Ohio River

By volume the 981-miles-long Ohio River is the largest tributary to the Mississippi River. Formed at Pittsburgh, PA, by the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegeny Rivers it has a long and lively steamboat history. Different to other rivers, the milage of the Ohio River is counted backwards - starting with Pittsburgh as mile 0.

Many of the most famous steamboats had been built in the wharfs along the Ohio River. Today small towns like Wheeling, WV, had been major cities in a long bygone era. Along the Ohio River steamboat history is still alive with many museums, historic places and people who are well aware of the great history of their river.

Ohio River map

Looking for River Conditions and Flood Forecasts? Check our river conditions and flood forecasts resources service.

The first dam and lock was built on the Ohio River in 1885, with an entire system of 46 locks and dams built until 1929. In the early 1950s the Army Corps of Engineers began replacing the old structures with 19 modern locks and dams with higher lifts and much 1,200-feet lock chambers. Today still modernizing this system, again, is high on the agenda.

Book recommendations:
Ohio River Images: Cincinnati to Louisville in the Packet Boat Era, Russell G. Ryle
The Ohio River Handbook and Picture Album, Benjamin F. Klein
Thrills of the Historic Ohio River, Frank Grayson

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