Zanesville was named after Ebenezer Zane (1747–1811), who had blazed Zane's Trace, a pioneer trail from Wheeling, Virginia to Maysville, Kentucky through present-day Ohio. In 1797, he remitted land as payment to his son-in-law, John McIntire (1759–1815), at the point where Zane's Trace met the Muskingum River. With the assistance of Zane, McIntire platted the town, opened an inn and ferry by 1799. In 1801, Zanesville was officially renamed, formerly Westbourne, the chosen name for the settlement by Zane. From 1810–1812, the city was the second state capital of Ohio. The National Road courses through Zanesville as U.S. Route 40. The city grew quickly in the 1820s–1850s.
The city increased, largely because of factories producing pottery, bricks, glassware, ball-bearings, soap, steel and many other products from the 1880s until the mid-1950s. The city had a booming downtown economy and increase in the northern area of the town. By the 1950s many factories had closed or moved. Pottery, a major industrial employer, slowly waned in demand because of cheaper Asian companies. After WW-2 the city held its own. During the 1950s until the 1980s nearly one-third of the population abandoned the city. In the 1990s the city/county opened industrial parks and several housing developments were built in the northern parts of the city.
The Zanesville Y-Bridge is a historic Y-shaped three-way bridge that spans the confluence of the Licking and Muskingum Rivers in downtown Zanesville, Ohio. It carries the traffic of U.S. Route 40 (Main Street and West Main Street), as well as Linden Avenue.The first Zanesville Y-Bridge was constructed in 1814. The trestle bridge stood for four years. The second wooden bridge was erected in 1819. New roads were built in the area and traffic increased. A winter flood in 1831–1832 weakened the second bridge to be unsafe for the increased traffic. A third iteration, a wooden covered bridge was completed in 1832 and stood until 1900.The next bridge opened in early 1902. It had concrete balustrade railings which were lost to the 1913 flood and replaced with pipe railings. The fourth bridge was deemed unsafe in 1979. After demolition it was found that only one of the three segments needed actual replacement, the other spans would have needed only surface repairs.The current concrete and steel bridge is the fifth in the series on the same location. It opened in 1984.
The Muskingum River has been an important pathway throughout much of Ohio's history. Originally the Muskingum River was not navigated easily but in 1836 a new project known as the Muskingum River Improvement began. The project consisted of a system of eleven locks and dams that made the Muskingum River navigable from Marietta to a short feeder canal south of Dresden, Ohio, that connected to the Ohio and Erie Canal. It was completed in 1841. Lock #10 is located in Zanesville.
"In late March 1913, an unusually heavy rainstorm moved into Ohio. It rained steadily for five days and the water levels rose rapidly. By the third day of the downpour, levees were overtopped and many towns suffered disastrous flooding. When the flood waters receded, tons of mud and debris covered the streets, homes, businesses and factories of towns like Zanesville, where the Muskingum River had crested 27 feet above flood stage and water was 20 feet deep at several downtown intersections. The death toll for the disaster stood at 361, and property damages were well over $100,000,000 and 65,000 were forced to temporarily leave their homes."- ohiomemory.org
Railfanning in Zanesville, Ohio
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Gonzalez is a photographer, blogger and historian currently residing in Newark, New Jersey.