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  • Writer's pictureBrokerBecki

Along the River

Let me preface this post with a fact: I'm a history nerd. I love all things history and I recently came across some great articles and videos about the border between Indiana and Kentucky and the great history there. I've included them below and drop me a line if you have others to add.

ChatAI synopsis of the Ohio river between Indiana and Kentucky:

The Ohio River has a rich history as a significant waterway that stretches approximately 981 miles (1,579 kilometers) along the borders of Indiana and Kentucky. It has played a crucial role in the development and growth of both states, as well as the broader United States. Here is an overview of the history of the Ohio River in the context of Indiana and Kentucky:

Indigenous Peoples: Prior to European settlement, various indigenous peoples inhabited the region surrounding the Ohio River. Tribes such as the Shawnee, Miami, and Delaware relied on the river for transportation, trade, and sustenance.

European Exploration and Settlement: The French were among the first Europeans to explore the Ohio River in the early 17th century. In 1669, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claimed the Ohio River Valley for France. Subsequently, the British and French vied for control over the region during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ended the war, transferring the Ohio River Valley to British control.

American Revolution and Early Statehood: The American Revolution saw the Ohio River become a contested border between American colonists and Native American tribes allied with the British. The 1783 Treaty of Paris that concluded the Revolutionary War established the Ohio River as part of the boundary between the United States and the British-held Northwest Territory.

The Northwest Territory and Statehood: The region surrounding the Ohio River became part of the Northwest Territory, established in 1787. As settlers moved westward, towns and cities began to develop along the riverbanks, serving as trade centers and hubs of commerce. Both Indiana and Kentucky were formed from the Northwest Territory, with Indiana achieving statehood in 1816 and Kentucky in 1792. (See this site for details about which state includes the river in it's border.)

River Trade and Transportation: The Ohio River served as a vital transportation route for goods and people throughout the 19th century. Steamboats became a common sight on the river, facilitating trade and commerce between cities along its banks. Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky, emerged as major river ports, fostering economic growth in the region.

Civil War and Underground Railroad: During the American Civil War (1861-1865), the Ohio River played a strategic role as a border between the Union and the Confederacy. Kentucky, being a border state, saw divided loyalties, and the river acted as a gateway for escaped slaves seeking freedom via the Underground Railroad.

Industrialization and 20th Century: With the rise of industrialization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Ohio River continued to be a vital artery for transportation of coal, steel, and other industrial goods. The river's importance as a transportation route diminished with the advent of railroads and highways, but it remains an essential waterway for commerce, recreation, and tourism.

Environmental Concerns and Conservation: In the 20th century, pollution and environmental degradation became significant issues for the Ohio River. Industrial waste and agricultural runoff led to water pollution concerns, prompting efforts to clean up and protect the river. Today, organizations and government agencies work to preserve the ecological health of the Ohio River and ensure its sustainable use.

The history of the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky reflects the broader historical developments of the United States, encompassing exploration, settlement, trade, conflict, and industrialization. The river's impact on the region's economy, culture, and transportation infrastructure remains significant to this day.

And for your own research, here are some sites:

The Filson Historical Society: based in Louisville, Kentucky, has a rich collection of historical materials related to the Ohio River region. Their website ( offers access to digitized collections, exhibits, research resources, and educational programs focusing on the history of the Ohio River and its surrounding areas.

Ohio River Museum: Located in Marietta, Ohio, the Ohio River Museum showcases the history and heritage of the Ohio River. Their website ( provides information about the museum's exhibits, artifacts, and educational programs, highlighting the river's significance in the region's history.

Ohio River History: The Ohio River History website ( offers a wealth of historical information about the Ohio River. It includes articles, maps, photographs, and resources covering topics such as riverboat navigation, steamboats, floods, and the role of the river in regional development.

Historic Newburgh, Inc.: Historic Newburgh, located in Indiana along the Ohio River, is a community dedicated to preserving and celebrating its historical heritage. Their website ( features information on the town's history, architecture, events, and attractions along the Ohio River.

The Ohio River Way: The Ohio River Way website ( provides information about the historical, cultural, and natural aspects of the Ohio River. It offers insights into the river's role in Native American history, European exploration, settlement, and industrial development, along with details about recreational opportunities and conservation efforts.

Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO): ORSANCO is an interstate agency dedicated to protecting and improving the water quality of the Ohio River and its tributaries. Their website ( offers information on water quality, pollution control, recreational activities, and more.

Ohio River Greenway: The Ohio River Greenway is a scenic trail system that stretches along the Ohio River, offering opportunities for walking, cycling, and enjoying the riverfront. Their website ( provides maps, trail details, and information about access points.

Ohio River Scenic Byway: The Ohio River Scenic Byway is a designated driving route that follows the Ohio River, showcasing the natural beauty, historic sites, and cultural attractions of the region. Visit their website ( for information on the scenic byway, including points of interest and suggested itineraries.

Falls of the Ohio State Park: Located in Clarksville, Indiana, Falls of the Ohio State Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore fossil beds, hike nature trails, and enjoy scenic views of the Ohio River. Check out their website ( for details about the park's features, educational programs, and visitor information.

River Heritage Conservancy: The River Heritage Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the natural, scenic, and cultural resources of the Ohio River and its surrounding areas. Their website ( provides information on conservation efforts, projects, and ways to get involved.

Ghosts of the Ohio: Ghosts of the Ohio ( is a website dedicated to documenting and sharing paranormal experiences, legends, and ghost stories along the Ohio River. It features accounts from eyewitnesses, historical background, and information about haunted locations.

The Haunted Side: The Haunted Side ( is a paranormal investigation team that explores haunted locations across the United States, including areas along the Ohio River. Their website features videos, photos, and stories of their investigations, which often include ghostly encounters and supernatural phenomena.

Legends of America: Legends of America ( is a website that covers various aspects of American history, including folklore, legends, and ghost stories. Their section on the Ohio River ( provides information about ghostly tales, haunted places, and supernatural legends associated with the river and its surrounding areas.

These websites offer intriguing accounts and information about ghost stories, legends, and other supernatural phenomena along the Ohio River. However, it's important to note that these stories are folklore and should be approached as such, rather than as factual accounts. Enjoy exploring the eerie tales and haunted folklore of the region!

Explore these websites for specific details, current information, and any updates they may have regarding the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky. Let me know if you have any additions!


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