Conneaut Reservoir

Raised some 10 feet by a 23-mile "feeder" from Meadville, this lake was the vital source of water for the highest part of the canal, 4 miles west. Lake water and traffic flowed north to Erie, south to the Ohio River.

Following the rise in canal transportation in the 1800s by the Union Canal Company, the Auxiliary Internal Improvement Society of Crawford County was organized on April 22, 1826 with the principle intent of encouraging the construction of roads and canals in northwestern Pennsylvania. Prior to this committee, bills had been passed allowing canal commissioners to survey all current streams and possible routes so proper plans could follow. On February 25, 1826, a bill was approved allowing canal commissioners to begin construction on a navigable feeder from French Creek to the summit level of Conneaut Lake.

With this bill’s approval, the canal commissioners secured the services of Major D. B. Douglass to make a survey of the proposed canal and reservoir. In his submitted report, he detailed three potential routes: one up the eastern branch of Beaver Dam Run, another running further westward, and a third running further eastward up the valley of Brights Mill Stream. He also considered routes running along the eastern and western shores of Conneaut Lake, but feared that the future destruction of nearby forests would decrease the natural flow of French Creek, Major D. B. Douglass would ultimately decide that the lake would need to be raised 11 feet and used as a reservoir in order to preserve French Creek’s natural flow. The reservoir would connect to the main line of The Beaver Extension Canal through a western exit along the lowest end and aid in transferring water to fuel the canal’s waterflow upon its completion in 1845 by The Erie Canal Company. 

From 1845 to its eventual abandonment in 1872 due to the construction of the Erie and Pittsburgh Railroad, this reservoir would act as a major water source for both travel and the transportation of coal, lumber, and other miscellaneous resources in and out of the town of Evansburg (now The Conneaut Lake Borough).