When the Ohio Canal survey was completed in 1825 it bypassed Columbus eleven miles to the south. It was not long, however, before the canal commissioners decided to construct a "feeder" connecting the Scioto River at Main Street with the main canal at Lockbourne.
Work upon the feeder, also known as the Columbus side cut. was commenced April 30, I827, with marked ceremony. In the Afternoon of that day the citizens of Franklin County assembled on the State House lawn. A procession was formed consisting of the citizens, several military companies, State, County, and City officers. Marshalled by Colonels Abram McDowell and John McElvain the dignitaries marched to the river at Main street. A short address was delivered by Judge Joseph R Swan. General McLene. then Secretary of State, and Nathaniel McLean, warden of the penitentiary, removed the first shovelfuls of earth, which was wheeled from the ground by Ralph Osborn, Auditor of State, and Henry Brown, State Treasurer.
The first mile from the river was excavated by penitentiary convicts, who worked under guard. and many of them received remitments of their sentences for their faithful labor. One of the most difficult jobs Along the course of the canal Was the construction of the "Four Mile Locks" at Fisher bend south of Columbus.