For many years most of northwest Ohio was covered by acres upon acres of swamp. This swamp stretched over twelve counties east to west from Sandusky, Ohio to Fort Wayne, Indiana and north to south from the Maumee River Valley to Findlay, Ohio. Parts of this swamp were meadows, other parts were forests of multiple types of trees, and yet other parts were thick brush and wild growth.
The swamp was a beautiful site to see, but it did not appeal to humans. The swamp was named the Great Black Swamp due to its black soil and inky waters. The swamp displayed waist-high waters in spring and ravenous haze of mosquitoes. For most seeking land to clear and farms to plant it was a sinister place that they didn’t want to be bothered with.
By 1830 the majority of the cleared land was taken and pioneers began considering the swamp. As this time period went on more settlers entered the swamp. The early roads of the swamp caused the settlers’ horses to struggle ...view middle of the document...
Later, they realized that underdrainage would be essential for farmland to reach maximum output. The first underdrains were simply stones or saplings laid in a trench and covered over. This technique was later replaced by nailing two planks into a V and laying them reversed in a trench and covering them over. The best method of underdrainage was clay tile, but was expensive because it wasn’t available locally until the 1860 in which a bed of clay was found under the topsoil of the Swamp. By the 1900’s little proof was left that there was ever a vast swamp in the region. The original parts of the Black Swamp remaining today are in the southwestern shore of Lake Erie.
Around the same time period natural gas was struck in northwest Ohio. The fields lay in many counties across Ohio. The first priority was for the gas to be used locally by pumping it directly into homes and business from wells. The most spectacular well was the Karg well. It first erupted in 1886its first flow of gas was 12,000,000 cubic feet per day which was so great it could not be controlled for many months.
Due to the natural gas real estate values exploded and local populations increased as communities and offered free gas and plant sites to new businesses. Findlay’s population nearly tripled from 1884 to 1887. Glass works began to grown in the area and became important local industries.
Due to the supply of the gas the price per barrel dropped to $.15. This natural gas also had a high sulphur content which was not possible to refine by existing technology which restricted its popularity for home use. This was promoted by saying it was a safety feature in which homeowners could detect leaks with the smell of the sulphur. The supply of gas during this time period was rapidly decreased because no one practiced conservation. This made everyone leaving their lights and stoves on thinking the gas was inexhaustible.
After 1900 a slump of oil was due to the gas decrease allowing the oil underneath to seep in. This discovery drew attention away from Ohio and the Ohio Oil Company expanded and widened all over the world. As the supply of natural resources diminish in our world new ways will be found to make deserted wells profitable again.