Side Cut Metropark

1025 W River Rd.
Maumee, OH 43537

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

The Miami & Erie Canal in Northwest Ohio

Side Cut is one of a number of Toledo’s Metroparks situated along the Maumee River and was Toledo’s first established Metropark, opening in 1930. The Metropark offers six trails that take visitors through Side Cut’s scenic landscape.

Side Cut Metropark is a symbol of Northwest Ohio history that spans over two centuries. It was the first of the Toledo Metroparks created during the depths of the Great Depression. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the conservation movement influenced civilians and officials desire to preserve and protect scenic spaces and natural resources. In Northwest Ohio. Community members saw opportunity in the sections of undeveloped, old canal land. The Miami and Erie Canal opened in 1845 and connected the Ohio River to Lake Erie in Toledo. During its construction, a side cut was built in Maumee City, which served as a feeder canal connecting the Maumee River to the main canal line. This feeder benefited the Wabash and Erie Canal, which originally ran from the Maumee River in Toledo, through Fort Wayne, and along the Wabash River to Terre Haute, eventually creating a travel route from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico. During the canal era’s peak, cities along the waterway thrived as travel and trade fostered population growth and economic prosperity.

In Ohio, the existence of the state-owned canal hindered the development of portions of land along its path, shaping the future of the region's landscape. The canals' popularity could not withstand the growing power of the railroads, and by the early twentieth-century traffic on the canal consistently slowed. After the Flood of 1913, the damage to the canal was believed to be too great to repair, and in the following decades civic-minded community members saw an opportunity to preserve the canal’s history and the undeveloped land’s natural resources. Side Cut Metropark opened in 1930, named after the canal feeder built in Maumee.

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Notes for Travelers

Visitors to Side Cut are able to experience the history of Northwest Ohio, and its vivid natural resources. Almost a century of canal history can be seen in the remaining original canal locks connected by the Canal Locks Trail that winds through the park. The construction of the shelter houses and preservation of the locks were projects funded by the New Deal, which provided labor through the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps. Near Side Cut Park, overlooking the Maumee River, is the Fallen Timbers Memorial, commemorating a battle between Native Americans and the United States in 1794 over control of the Northwest Territory that ended the Northwest Indian Wars and led to the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. For almost a century, the park has offered the community a space to enjoy the unique experience that blends natural Ohio and its history.

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.