Plans of the Various Improvements at the Falls of the Ohio


Improving commercial navigation along the Ohio River.

1 in stock

High-Resolution Images Are Available for Purchase HERE. Please email me with any questions or inquiries.

Situated between Louisville, Kentucky and Clarksville, Indiana lies the Falls of the Ohio, a natural rock formation that was one of the few barriers to navigation on the Ohio River in the early 19th century. Both cities grew from trade in the portage business, but it was quickly recognized that an alternative solution was needed to maximize economic growth. The privately owned Louisville and Portland Canal opened for traffic in 1830, but by the early 1850s a significant portion of river traffic was too large to fit through the channel. Federal improvements were constantly necessary to maintain its efficacy, and by 1855 a total buyout by the government was completed.

This map of the area around the falls was drawn by Lieutenant J.W. Abert, Engineer for the Topographic Corps of the United States Army. It was likely published by the Government Printing Office a few years later as part of a government report, with lithography performed by Auguste Hoen & Co. in Baltimore.

The canal can clearly be seen, along with proposed improvements to its entrance near 9th Street in Louisville. Depth soundings and navigational hazards are noted throughout. Numerous diagrams in the negative space show cross sections of the river with corresponding high and low water levels. Also of interest is the United States Marine Hospital in the lower center. The building was constructed in 1852 and is one of the best-preserved antebellum hospitals in the United States. Interstate 64 runs approximately along the route of the former plank road.

Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1858

Author: Lieut. J.W. Abert

Sheet Width (in): 36.4

Sheet Height (in): 23.6

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Moderate creasing and wear along originally issued fold lines, including separation at fold intersections and along the outer edges of the sheet, wrinkling, and light toning. Very minimal, if any, image loss. A few small tears are confined to the outer edges of the margins. Good to very good overall


1 in stock