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Massillon History: Flood Control Project 1939-1951

The city of Massillon flooded every year, with the worst floods occurring in 1904, 1913, and 1935. The Tuscarawas River took a natural course that curved into the downtown (where McDonald's is today), which increased the reach of the flood.

In 1936, the Massillon Chamber of Commerce formed a committee to work on flood control, officially called the Massillon Conservancy District. The project consisted of moving the Tuscarawas River, moving the railroad tracks, and creating 3 new viaduct bridges.

The project began in 1939 and was finally completed in 1951, costing more than $10 million. The Tremont viaduct opened on October 8, 1948; the Lincoln Way viaduct opened on November 11, 1949, and the Cherry Road viaduct opened on September 14, 1951.

Seen here are the Tremont, Lincoln Way, and Cherry Road viaducts being built, the river being moved, and the dedication from the Lincoln Way viaduct dedication ceremony in 1949, and parade and dedication ceremony for the Cherry Road viaduct in 1951.

Digitized from the original Independent negatives, taken by Jack Worthington.
From the collection of the Massillon Museum, gift of the Evening Independent (91.47)

91.47.0649 Tremont bridge demolition_positive

Demolition of the Tremont Bridge, 1938

91.47.0438 Possible viaduct construction_positive 91.47.0424 Road construction_positive

Lincoln Way Viaduct under construction, 194991.47.0254 Possible bridge construction_positive

Lincoln Way Viaduct under construction, 1949

91.47.0209 Construction site_positive

New waterways were built to divert the water from the river, to prevent flooding

91.47.0208 Construction site_positive

New waterways were built to divert the water from the river, to prevent flooding91.47.0206 Crane at construction site_positive 91.47.0168 Bridge construction_positive 91.47.0169 Bridge construction_positive

91.47.0702 Lincoln Way viaduct railing_positive

Completed Lincoln Way Viaduct

91.47.0716 Bridge over viaduct_positive

Completed Lincoln Way Viaduct

91.47.0830 Lincoln Way bridge_positive

Lincoln Way Viaduct before its official opening, 1949

91.47.0902 Crowd at opening ceremony Lincoln Highway bridge_positive

A large dedication ceremony took place on November 11, 1949 for the finished Lincoln Way Viaduct

91.47.0896 Man at microphone speaking outdoors_positive

A large dedication ceremony took place on November 11, 1949 for the finished Lincoln Way Viaduct

91.47.0901 Crowd at opening ceremony Lincoln Highway bridge_positive

A large dedication ceremony took place on November 11, 1949 for the finished Lincoln Way Viaduct

91.47.0898 Ribbon cutting possibly Lincoln Highway bridge_positive

A large dedication ceremony took place on November 11, 1949 for the finished Lincoln Way Viaduct

91.47.0899 Woman christening Lincoln Highway bridge_positive

Christening the Lincoln Way Viaduct

91.47.0926 Lincoln Way viaduct with train_positive

91.47.0927 Lincoln Way viaduct_positive

A large dedication ceremony took place on November 11, 1949 for the finished Lincoln Way Viaduct

91.47.0929 Cherry Rd viaduct under construction_positive

Cherry Road Viaduct under construction, 1950

91.47.0930 Lincoln Way viaduct under construction_positive

Cherry Road Viaduct under construction, 1950

91.47.4310 Viaduct Dedication parade Massillon float_positive

Celebration, parade, and dedication ceremony for the completed Flood Control Project, September 14, 1951

91.47.4313 Viaduct Dedication parade Emerson School_positive

Celebration, parade, and dedication ceremony for the completed Flood Control Project, September 14, 1951

91.47.4314 Viaduct Dedication parade Longfellow_positive

Celebration, parade, and dedication ceremony for the completed Flood Control Project, September 14, 1951

91.47.4320 Crowd at Viaduct Dedication ceremony_positive

Celebration, parade, and dedication ceremony for the completed Flood Control Project, September 14, 1951

91.47.4328 Mayor Weirich at Viaduct Dedication ceremony_positive

Mayor Robert Weirich gives a speech at the dedication ceremony for the completed Flood Control Project, September 14, 1951

 

91.47.4329 3 women with flowers at Viaduct Dedication ceremony_positive

Silent film actress Lillian Gish throws a wreath from the completed Cherry Road Viaduct as part of the dedication ceremony for the completed Flood Control Project, September 14, 1951

 
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