|Rosston Eddy Marina
The Allegheny River
A Brief History
The Allegheny River begins as a spring east of
the little town of Colesburg, Pennsylvania and
nine miles from Coudersport, Pennsylvania. A
marker, erected by the Pennsylvania
Historical and Museum Commission, marks the
The river starts its long journey flowing
before turning north, making a large
U-shape loop and entering the state of
New York. It flows past the city of
Salamanca, New York--just west of
From there the river turns southward through second-growth forests. On its way south,
the river drains most of the highland streams north and east of Pittsburgh. It runs joins
Cairo, Ill. the Ohio River flows into the mighty Mississippi River.
Many explorers and settlers traveled the Allegheny
during the colonial period. The French named the river,
La Belle Riviere -- The Beautiful River.
Following the American Revolution, the Allegheny
carried northern forests. After Edwin Drake's first
well near Titusville on Oil Creek began the oil boom in
1859, most of Titusville on Oil Creek began the oil boom
in 1859, most of the nation's petroleum came downriver
until that industry's decline in the 1880s.
The Corps constructed eight locks and dams on the Allegheny in the 1920s and 1930s. They
guarantee a minimum 9-foot navigation channel for 72 miles from Pittsburgh to East Brady,
Several flood control projects lie farther upstream on the river and its tributaries. One of
these flood control projects is the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir near Warren,
Pennsylvania. Another is Conemaugh River Lake located below Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on
form of local flood protection ice control structures.
The valley, for the most part, supports only limited industry. The river has become cleaner
in recent years due to environmental control monitored by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, and supporting efforts by other federal and state agencies including
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
During all this time, travelers and shippers had used the stream as nature had made it:
shallow, and subject to drought, floods and ice jams. During some spring thaws the
massive ice jams pushed so far down the Ohio that noticeable chunks reached the
The government originally built two locks and dams between 1898-1908, near the mouth of
the river. However, lengthy quarrels about who should pay to raise the bridges, which
were obstructing traffic on the Allegheny, delayed completion of the work until after the
passage of legislation in 1917.
with postcard scenery and good fishing.