Cleveland was founded in the late 1700's near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. With the addition of several canals and effective railroad lines, Cleveland quickly became an important manufacturing site and was incorporated as a city in 1836. It was then conveniently connected with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Erie Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Gulf of Mexico along the Mississippi River.
Columbus was founded near the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers. When Ohio earned statehood in 1803 Columbus was named state capital. In 1850 the Columbus and Xenia Railroad reached Columbus, and the next year the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad arrived. The two railroads shared the Union Station at Columbus.
The Ohio Statehouse opened in 1857. During the American Civil War, Columbus was a major base for the volunteer Union Army at Camp Chase which was located in what is now the Hilltop neighborhood of west Columbus. The camp housed, organized and trained the 18th U.S. Infantry.
Toledo was founded along the west bank of the Maumee River in 1833. With the addition of the Miami and Erie Canal, as well as other connecting canals, and with its position along the railway between New York and Chicago, Toledo grew fast, boasting furniture manufacturers, carriage makers and breweries. Toledo became a major glassmaking town, producing windows, bottles and glass art.
When the railroads began to replace the canals as the preferred method of transportation, Toledo became a prominent center for several railroad companies.
In the 1850's Cleveland was an important halfway point for Minnesota iron ore and other raw materials being transported across the Great Lakes. In 1854, Cleveland annexed Ohio City that was just across the river. Standard Oil was founded here in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller.
This detailed map was published in 1873 by E.C. Bridgman. It shows cities, towns, counties, waterways, and clearly labeled Ohio railroad network of 1873.