The canal still saw some use, though. Bank robbers, slaves, criminals, and others seeking refuge in the north followed the abandoned waterways. Some found refuge, and others died along the way. According to one ghost story, a young girl from the south who had run away from an abusive family followed a system of locks northbound. She made it as far as Akron, where she drowned herself in the water out of of frustration. She supposedly still haunts the area, and can be heard sobbing outside the Civic Theater on some nights. Spoooky!

When you commit unforgivable crimes,
there is a house in which to hide.
At this house, there are guns inside.
If you begin to starve, I will feed you well.
If you cannot read, I will gladly help.
If you need some sleep, you can rest a spell.

But there's no swimming in the old canal, in those polluted waters where the best of men drown;
there's no swimming in the Cuyahoga Canal.

If you build a boat, you can sail up north.
You may find freedom past the Canadian border.
But your presence here is unwelcome, in the name of law and order.


Lyrics submitted by DakotaFloyd

Cuyahoga Canal song meanings
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