--The Cuyahoga River was a retreat from the last glaciers ever seen in the United States. It is called an "infant glacial river", because it is young compared to all of the other rivers formed by glaciers. The river was formed about 13,000 years ago, but the Cuyahoga Valley has been there even longer.

--The Cuyahoga River also had a great influence on the Native Americans. The Native Americans named it "Cuyahoga" meaning "crooked river". The Cuyahoga River also had a great influence on the Native Americans. They came as early as 200 B.C. to the Northeastern part of what is now the Ohio Valley. The Indians used the river mainly for food and transportation. They built canoes and fished along the river. The river had an abundant supply of fish as well as plants. Also, large game were settled near the river. These resources made it very easy for the Native Americans to live.

--The great demise of the Cuyahoga River began with the Europeans settling near it in the 1600 through the 1700's. These people were mostly fur traders from Northern Europe. They came for many different kinds of furs including: beaver, muskrat, otter, and many other kinds of animals. The Cuyahoga River was known for its great game and great trading posts. The fur traders traded guns and gun powder to the Native Americans in exchange for furs. This started the "end of innocence" for the river, making it more popular for industry.

--As the the War of 1812 ended, Western settlers displaced the Indians off the Cuyahoga Valley. The Cuyahoga River was becoming a place which was rich and plentiful. Moses Cleveland founded the township of Euclid at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in 1796. Benjamin Franklin and George Washington thought that the Northern part of what is now the Ohio would be of great importance. They knew that the Cuyahoga was the prime spot for the continental divide passing directly through and for the mouth coming out at the Lake Erie.

--The canals were a very big part of the industrialization of the River. The Ohio and Pennsylvania and Ohio Canals linked the Cuyahoga and Lake Erie together between 1825 and 1832. They came at a time when American soil was young.

--The Ohio Canal was the "superhighway" of the early 1800's. The Cuyahoga River was too unpredictable to travel far distances, making the canals very important for transportation. In the Canal they shipped many agricultural products and coal for the upcoming smoke stack industry. They also had novelty items brought in such as, coffee and window glass. The Ohio Canal was hand built by Irish immigrants and German Stonemasons. The canal stretches from Cleveland, to Akron, to Columbus, and to the Ohio River at Portsmouth.

--The Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal (P&O Canal) is also another very important canal. The canal workers were paid 30 cents a day to work on the canal. The P&O Canal ran east to west. There was no wildlife or trees around this canal, due to the fact of surrounding industrialization. It was of major importance to the economy of Northeastern Ohio; Akron would have never been built if it weren't for the P&O Canal. It did not have the best of working conditions though, because of the high prevalence of malaria. Eventually, the train took the path of the P&O Canal, forcing it to close.

--Both Canals were very important at that time. As many as 75 boats would pass on each of them a day. 9,000 passengers went through the P&O Canal on trips through what is now known as Cleveland and its surrounding communities. Both canals shipped large quanities of freight everyday. They were a stepping stone for the manufacturing industry coming to Northeastern Ohio.

--During the last 200 years, the river has changed dramatically. The northern part became the point of the river's settlement. It was a site for warehouses and for banks used for ship building. It was also used for the docking of many boats in 1820's. Cuyahoga Falls was a great power source for the upcoming mills of the time.

--Pollution has been the main factor in the Cuyahoga River. It was very prevalent in the early 1800's as well as now. Industry and population have made the river become a "flowing dump". Raw sewage was a big problem, because it was directly dumped into the Cuyahoga River. Cleveland started to have rapid growth and had about 40,000 people living there at that time.

--Industry was a prime source in the pollution. There were no laws or rules of what one could dump in the river. Refining oil was a big industry in that time. John D. Rockefeller made it possible for the oil business to come to Cleveland. There were many things being dumped in the river such as: gasoline, oil, paint, and metals. The river was called "a rainbow of many different colors". Before the turn of the century it was thought that "a dirty river was sign of prosperity."

--In 1969, the Cuyahoga River hit rock bottom with the infamous fire. There was so much oil in the river that it became very flammable. The River became a dead river, meaning it had no oxygen in it. Having no oxygen in the river, made it impossible for any plant or animal life to live. Akron and Cleveland dumped sewage in it, steel and automobile industries caused the river to become one of the worst rivers in Ohio's history.

--The River has made a remarkable recovery. It is known as a success story and an example for other polluted rivers to follow. The 1972 Clean Water Act made many regulations in what could be dumped in the water. The chemistry of the Cuyahoga River has to be good enough to support aquatic life. Many laws have been passed to forbid the sewage from the past of getting into the river. Many years ago Edgewater Beach was closed due to the severe pollution. Edgewater beach is now open to the public today for swimming and picnicking. The Cuyahoga is by no means perfect, but is an example of what could be done to save a very important river.

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