Erie County, Pennsylvania

History of Erie County, Pennsylvania 1884

by Samuel P. Bates, 

Submitted by Gaylene Kerr Banister

Chapter IV- Streams, Lakes, Bays, Bridges and Culverts

Though one of the best-watered sections of the State, Erie County has no rivers and few streams of importance. A large number of creeks and runs have their origin on the dividing ridges, and course through the county in all directions, so that almost every farm has its running water, but only three or four are of sufficient size to be given a place on the general map of the commonwealth. The dividing ridges separate the water system of the county into two distinct divisions, which may be classed for the present purpose into the Northern and Southern. All of the streams which form on the north side of the main ridge flow into Lake Erie, and thence, through Niagara River, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence, to the Atlantic Ocean. Those on the south side invariably unite with the Allegheny River, which in turn pours its waters into the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the Gulf of Mexico. Of the southern streams the most important is French Creek, the common receptacle of all the rest, with the exception of the Brokenstraw, which flows through a corner of Wayne Township, and the head-waters of Spring Creek and Oil Creek, which have their sources, the former in Concord and the latter in that and Union Township. The principal tributaries of French Creek, within the county, are the South Branch, the Outlet of Lake Pleasant and Le Boeuf Creek. The Conneauttee, which rises in Franklin Township, and the Cussewago, the sources of which are both in that township and Elk Creek, join the same stream in Crawford County.


Of the lake shore streams, the leading ones are as follows: Conneaut, Crooked, Elk, Trout, Walnut, Mill, Four Mile, Six Mile, Twelve Mile, Sixteen Mile and Twenty Mile, the five last mentioned being named according to their distance from Erie city. The smaller streams which empty directly into Lake Erie, are Raccoon and Turkey Runs, in Springfield Township; Fort Run, in Fairview Township; Danford Run, the Head Run, and One, Two and Three Mile Creeks, in Mill Creek Township; Cascade and Garrison Runs in Erie City; Five Mile Creek, Elliott's Run and Scott's Run, in Harbor Creek Township; Spring, Spafford and Averill Runs, in North East Township; and several rivulets, the titles of which are variously given.


Tributaries of the Above
The tributaries of the above streams are as follows, the terminus of each being in the township indicated:


French Creek-- In Greenfield Township, a number of creeks and runs; in Venango Township, Middlebrook Alder Run and Fritts Run of the West Branch, and Spafford Run of the East Branch; in Amity Township (East and West Branches unite), the Outlet of Lake Pleasant, Jones' Brook, Henry Brook, the Hubbell Alder Run, Deerlick Run, the Hatch Hollow Alder Run and Duncombe Run; in Waterford Township, Davis Run; in Le Boeuf Township, the South Branch, Le Boeuf Creek, Trout Brook, Colt Run, Mill Run, Moravian Run, Gill Brook and Mallory Run.


Le Boeuf Creek-- In Waterford Township, the West Branch, Boyd Run, Trout Run and Benson Run. (Boyd and Trout Runs empty into Lake Le Boeuf, which is really no more than an expansion of the creek).


The South Branch of French Creek-- In Concord Township, Scotch Run, Spring Brook, Lilly Run, Beaver Dam Run, Spencer Run, Baskin Run and Slaughter Run; in Union Township, Scotchman's, Wilson, Mulvin, Carroll, Pine, Tolbert and Benson Runs.


Conneaut Creek-- In Conneaut Township, the East Branch, the West Branch and Marsh Run. The tributaries of the East Branch are Frazier's Run in Elk Creek Township, and Crane and Jackson Runs in Conneaut Township.


Elk Creek-- In McKean Township, the South Branch; in Fairview Township, Fall Run and Little Elk; in Girard Township, the West Branch, Hall's Run, Brandy Run and Spring Run.


Walnut Creek-- In Mill Creek Township, McNair and Nece Runs; in Fairview Township, Bear and Beaver Dam Runs.


Mill Creek-- In Mill Creek Township, Bladen's Run.


Four Mile Creek-- In Harbor Creek Township, McConnell Run.


Sixteen Mile Creek-- In Northeast Township, the Borough Branch.


Hare Creek, the only tributary of the Brokenstraw flowing from the county, joins that stream in Warren County, below Corry. Its chief inlets are Bear Creek and Scioto Run.


The Conneauttee is joined by the Little Conneauttee a short distance across the line, in Crawford County, and by Pratt and Herbert Creeks in Washington Township.


Principal Settlements, Railroads, etc.
Most of the cities, towns, villages and important settlements are located upon these streams, having originated in numerous cases in consequence of the early establishment of mills. Mill Creek, Cascade and Garrison Runs flow through the city of Erie, and Hare Creek with two of its branches, through the city of Corry. Belle Valley is located along the banks of Mill Creek; Wesleyville on Four Mile Creek; Harbor Creek Village on Elliott's Run; Mooreheadville on Twelve Mile Creek; North East and Freeport on Sixteen Mile Creek; East Springfield on a branch of Crooked Creek; West Springfield on Turkey Run; Greenfield Village and Lowville on the West Branch of French Creek; Wattsburg at the junction of the East and West Branches of the latter stream; Mill Town on the outlet of Lake Pleasant; Beaver Dam on the run after which it was named; Elgin and Union City on the South Branch of French Creek; Mill Village on Mill Run branch of French Creek; Waterford on Le Boeuf Creek and Lake; Branchville on the South Branch of Elk Creek; Middleboro at the union of the South Branch with the main stream; Edinboro on Conneauttee Lake and Big Conneauttee Creek; McLallen's Corners and Draketown on the Little Conneauttee; Albion and Wellsburg on the East Branch of the Conneaut, and Keepville on the main stream; Cranesville on Crane Run; Sterrettania and West Girard on Elk Creek and Girard Borough on the eastern bluff overlooking its valley; Lockport on Hall's Run; Kearsage and Manchester on Walnut Creek; and Fairview and Avonia on Trout Run.


The Erie & Pittsburgh Railroad, after leaving the lake shore, crosses Crooked Creek, into the Conneaut Valley, and follows it into Crawford County; the Philadelphia & Erie rises from the level of Lake Erie to the Walnut Creek Valley, pursues the same to the Le Boeuf Valley, continues down the latter, crosses French Creek in Le Boeuf Township, and then runs up the South Branch to Corry; the New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio follows the route of the South Branch to a point near its junction with French Creek, and from there keeps close to the banks of the main stream to a point below Meadville; the route of the Buffalo, Pittsburgh & Western road is along the head-waters of the South Branch in Concord Township. The abandoned Erie Canal entered the Elk Creek Valley in Girard Township, passed over the stream by a lofty aqueduct, and then followed Hall's Run and Crane Run to Conneaut Valley, which formed its route into Crawford County.


Features of the Streams
The most striking feature of the lake shore streams is the deep channels they have cut in their passage from the high ground where they originate to the level of Lake Erie. These ravines or "gulfs" attend them all, to some extent, but are deepest and most picturesque along Elk Creek, in Girard and Fairview Townships, Walnut Creek in Fairview, Four Mile Creek in Harbor Creek, Six Mile Creek in the same township, and Sixteen and Twenty Mile Creeks in North East. The "Gulfs" of Four and Six Mile Creeks, where they have worn a course through the First and Second Ridges, are from 100 to 150 feet deep, and are well worth a visit by those who enjoy novel scenery. In Girard Township, at the union of the West Branch with Elk Creek, is the natural curiosity known as the "Devil's Backbone," which is yearly visited by many seekers after the picturesque. Another feature of the lake shore streams deserving of mention is the fact that, while those eastward from Erie City flow directly to the lake in a general northwesterly course, those in and west of the city, run almost exactly westward until within a short distance of the lake, when they suddenly turn to the north and soon after untie with the great current which pours over Niagara. This is the more noticeable of Mill Creek, which rises in Greene and empties into the lake at Erie; Walnut Creek which also rises in Greene, flows across Summit, Mill Creek and Fairview Townships, and terminates at Manchester; and Elk Creek, which rises in Waterford, crosses McKean, Fairview and Girard Townships, and enters the lake below Miles Grove. Conneaut Creek is to some extent an exception to the rule, rising as it does in Crawford County, flowing nearly due north through Conneaut Township to within a short distance of the Girard line, and then bending abruptly westward, forming the boundary between that and Springfield Townships, finally entering Ohio, and, after a devious course, becoming the harbor of Conneaut in that State. The peculiarity here noted is due to the successive hills, making up what is known as the Dividing Ridges, each one of which forms a separate valley in which it is claimed the water was originally confined until a break or gulf was created through which a passage was found to the lake. The streams of the northern division have a rapid current and abound in tiny water falls, while the flow of those in the southern division is comparatively gentle. The latter are usually bordered by narrow strips of flat land, and the scenery, though of a pleasing pastoral character, affords little that is novel or inspiring. French Creek, all three of its branches -- the East, West and South -- and Le Boeuf Creek, were at one period navigable for rafts and flat-boats, and before the building of good roads were the chief avenues for bringing goods and provisions into the county. There has been no rafting to speak of on the branches of French Creek for forty years, while the business on the main stream may be said to have suspended about the time of the outbreak of the last war. All of the streams in the county were formerly much larger and more reliable. The cutting off of the timber has had an alarming effect in drying up the streams, and the seasons of high water which were once of two or three weeks' duration now last only a few days. There being no forests to retain the rain, the water runs off very rapidly, causing floods that sometime do considerable damage in the southern part of the county. All of the streams were at one time full of trout and other fish.


French Creek and its Principal Tributaries
It is not the purpose of this chapter to describe any of the minor streams, an account of which will be given in the township sketches, to which the reader who wishes to know more about them is directed. Only those streams will be referred to here which possess something of a general interest by reason of their relation to two or more townships, or in consequence of their historical associations:


French Creek.-- This stream -- the most important in the county -- was variously known to the Indians as the Toranadakin and Innungah, the latter word having some reference to "a rude and indecent figure carved upon a tree," which the Seneca tribe found when they came to this region after having conquered the Eriez. The French at first gave it the name of the River Aux Boeufs, but changed it to the River Venango, being a corruption of the Indian word Innungah. When the Americans occupied the country, they dropped both the Indian and French names, and gave the stream the plain appellation of French Creek. The main stream is created by the junction of the East and West Branches in Amity Township, just south of the borough limits of Wattsburg. The East Branch takes its rise in Chautauqua County, N. Y., near the village of Sherman, and the head of the West Branch is usually said to be in Findley's Lake, about two miles over the New York line, in the same county. The former has a length of more than twenty miles, and flows through a corner of Venango Township. The length of the latter is about the same, crossing in its course the whole width of Greenfield and Venango. Both streams were navigable in the beginning of the century for canoes and rafts as far north as the New York line, but the erection of dams and the drying up of the water made Wattsburg in later years the practical head of navigation. After the junction of the East and West Branches, the creek traverses Amity, Waterford and Le Boeuf Townships, leaving the county to enter Crawford in the last named. It passes through the whole width of Crawford County from north to south, nearly in the center of the county, and after watering half of Venango County unites with the Allegheny at Franklin. Its length from Wattsburg to Franklin cannot be less than a hundred miles, or a hundred and twenty or twenty-five, measuring from the mouth to the source of either of the branches. By the time French Creek joins the Allegheny, it has become a good-sized stream, which deserves the title of river better than many that figure more prominently upon the maps. It was along the valley of this creek that Washington traveled on his visit to the French at Fort Le Boeuf, and he descended the stream in a canoe on his return journey. The last rafting from the mouth of Le Boeuf Creek was done in 1862.


Outlet of Lake Pleasant.-- This stream, as its name indicates, carries off the excess of water in Lake Pleasant. It issues from the foot of the lake, in Venango Township, and empties into French Creek in Amity, after a course of some three miles.


The South Branch.-- The South Branch of French Creek rises in Concord Township, flows through that and Union, and unites with the main stream in Le Boeuf, a short distance below the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad bridge. It has a course of perhaps twenty miles. The valley of the South Branch forms the route in part of no less than three railroads, the Philadelphia & Erie, the Buffalo, Pittsburgh & Western, and the New York, Pennsylvania & Ohio.


Le Boeuf Creek was known to the French as the river Aux Boeufs and was at first supposed to be the main stream. It was so named from the number of cattle discovered by them on the flats near its mouth. The creek is formed by two stems, the eastern one of which rises on the Venango Township line, and flows across Greene Township, while the western has its source in Summit Township, the two coming together on the northern boundary of Waterford Township. On the edge of Waterford Borough the creek enters Lake Le Boeuf, from which it issues somewhat increased in size. It joins French Creek in Le Boeuf Township. From the head of the East Branch to the mouth of the creek, the distance is about twenty miles. The head of navigation was at Waterford Borough, just above the lake.


The Lake Shore Streams
Conneaut Creek, the second largest in the county, rises south of Conneautville, Crawford County, flows in a general northerly direction through Conneaut Township, nearly to the Springfield line, then turns abruptly westward and continues into Ohio. After changing its course it forms the boundary line between Conneaut and Springfield. In Ohio it flows nine miles westward to Kingsville, then makes another sudden bend to the east, and comes back eight mile to Conneaut, where it turns again to the north, and, after a further course of about a mile, empties into Lake Erie not far from the Pennsylvania line, forming Conneaut Harbor. It is a very crooked stream, the length from head to mouth being fully seventy miles, while the distance by an air line is not more than twenty-five. More costly bridges cross this creek than any other in ERie County. The East Branch of Conneaut Creek rises on the northern edge of Crawford County, flows through Elk Creek Township, and unites with the main stream a mile or so northeast of Albion. In the latter borough it is joined by Jackson Creek, which rises on the Elk Creek and Conneaut line, near Crawford County. The East Branch is about ten miles long and Jackson Creek some five miles.


Elk Creek rises in Waterford Township and flows in a general westerly course through McKean, Fairview and Girard Townships to Lake Erie, north of Mile Grove. The length of Elk Creek is between twenty-five and thirty miles. An effort was made to have the mouth of this stream made the terminus of the canal, and various projects have been advocated for establishing a harbor there. The name of Elk Creek was given from the number of elk found in its valley. Falls Run starts in Franklin Township and joins Elk Creek in Fairview. Brandy Run rises in Fairview Township and unites with Elk Creek in Girard. The West Branch, which also joins the same stream in the latter township, rises in Elk Creek Township. They are all small.


Walnut Creek, so named because its banks were lined with walnut trees, rises on the western edge of Greene Township, and flows through Summit, Mill Creek and Fairview, entering the lake at Manchester. Its length is about fifteen miles.


Crook Creek rises in Lockport Borough, and flows through Girard and Springfield to Lake Erie, a short distance from North Springfield. It is about ten miles long.


The Head run is the small stream that enters Presque Isle bay just above the Massassauga pleasure ground.


Cascade Run is historical because a portion of Perry's fleet was built at its mouth. It falls into the pay at the Pittsburgh docks, in Erie City.


Mill Creek is formed by two branches, the one rising in the extreme southeastern section of Mill Creek Township, and the other in the northwestern part of Greene. They unite near the southeastern line of the first-named township, and the stream enters the bay within the city limits of Erie. Mill Creek cannot be less than eight miles long.


Four Mile Creek rises in Greene, runs through the western edge of Harbor Creek, and enters the lake in the northeastern corner of Mill Creek Township, after a course of about eight miles.


Twelve Mile Creek heads on the line of North East and Greenfield Townships, and joins the lake in Harbor Creek. Its length is about seven miles.


Twenty Mile Creek rises in Chautauqua County, N. Y., and empties into the lake in North East Township, near the State line. It is from sixteen to eighteen miles long.


Lakes and Bays
Lake Erie.-- The whole northern front of the county is bordered by Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay, giving a shore line, with the various indentations, of fully forty-five miles. Lake Erie is one of the chain of "Great Lake," consisting, besides itself, of Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, St. Clair and Ontario. No one of these, except St. Clair, is excelled or equaled in size by any body of fresh water elsewhere in the world. The name Erie has been "held to mean 'cat,' thus giving the title of Cat to the tribe of Eries, and Cat Lake to the body of water." This, however, is disputed by one writer, who claims that the word "means raccoon in the original, and that the error as to meaning came into vogue by the confounding by the early French explorers of the wild cat with the raccoon, both of which animals abounded, but the latter being the most numerous." Recent measurements give the following results:


"The greatest length of Lake Superior is 335 miles; the greatest breadth, 160 miles; mean depth, 688 feet; elevation above the ocean, 602 feet; area, 82,000 square miles.


"The greatest length of Lake Michigan is 300 miles; its greatest breadth, 108 miles; mean depth, 600 feet; elevation, 581 1/4 feet; area, 23,000 square miles.


"The greatest length of Lake Huron is 200 miles; its greatest breadth, 169 m; mean depth, 600 feet; elevation, 581 1/4 feet; area, 23,000 square miles.


"The greatest length of Lake Erie is 250 miles; its greatest breadth is 80 miles; its mean depth is 84 feet; elevation, 578 7/16 feet; area, 6,000 square miles.


"The greatest length of Lake Ontario is 180 miles; its greatest breadth, 65 miles; its mean depth is 500 feet; elevation, 246 1/2 feet; area, 6,000 square miles.


"The length of all five is 1,265 miles, covering an area of upward of 135,000 square miles."


Lake Erie receives the outflow of Lake Huron through the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, and empties itself through the Niagara River into Lake Ontario. The outlet of the latter is the St. Lawrence River, which, after a course of some five hundred miles, falls into the Atlantic Ocean within the Dominion of Canada, the volume of water which it carries down begin greater than that of the Mississippi. By some geographers, the lakes are regarded as expansions of the St. Lawrence, which would give that river a length, from the source of the St. Louis, the most remote tributary of Superior, of about twenty-one hundred miles. Lake Erie is the fifth and most southerly of the chain. Its breadth varies from thirty to eighty miles. The narrowest part of the lake is between Long Point, Canada, and Presque Isle, and the widest is between Ashtabula, Ohio, and Port Stanley, Canada. The average depth of Lake Erie is less than that of any other of the chain, except St. Clair, which renders its navigation the most dangerous. It has few natural harbors, that of Erie being the best, but the mouths of a number of the larger streams have been dredged and protected by breakwaters, offering good facilities for shipping.


In commercial importance, Lake Erie excels any other of the chain. The Falls of Niagara, twenty miles below its foot, forbid direct navigation between Erie and Ontario. This has been remedied by the construction of the Welland Ship Canal. Vessels pass through this artificial channel to and from Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean. The lake seldom freezer over more than a few miles from shore, but instances have been known of the ice being clogged between Long Point and Presque Isle so that teams and wagons have crossed. Navigation usually closes about the 1st of December and opens early in April, though it has sometimes begun much sooner. Several winters are recorded when vessels have sailed every month of the year. The streams that flow into Lake Erie are small, scarcely adding as much to its supply as it loses by evaporation. The body of water that flows over Niagara Falls is estimated not to exceed that received by the lake through the Detroit River. The lake abounds in fish, the most common varieties being white fish, pickerel, bass, perch, herring, sturgeon and mutton-heads.


It is subject to fluctuations of several feet in the height of the water, according to the direction of the wind. The general surface is also higher in some seasons than in others, depending on the winter and spring weather along the upper lakes.


Some unaccountable phenomena are reported by old settlers along the shores of the lake. Just after sunset on the 30th of May, 1823, several swells were observed at the mouths of Otter and Kettle Creeks, Canada, being twenty miles apart, and the water suddenly dashed to a height of nine feet at the former point and of seven at the latter. The weather was fine and the lake had previously been calm. A similar incident was witnessed at the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek, in 1820, at that of Cunningham Creek, Ohio, in 1826, and again at that of Grand River, Ohio, in 1830. At the second point named, the water rose fifteen and at the third eight feet. Water-spouts are of frequent occurrence, and as many as three have been seen at one time. A whirlwind was experienced at Conneaut, Ohio, in September, 1839, which lifted the water of the lake to a height of thirty feet. Three monster waves are reported as having dashed upon the dock at Madison, Lake County, Ohio, the first of which was fifteen or twenty feet high. "In 1844 or 1845, a wave came into Euclid Creek fifteen feet in height, carrying everything before it. On November 18, 1845, the water at Cleveland suddenly fell two and eight-tenths feet during a high wind from the southwest. The Toledo Blade records a change of ten feet on December 5, 1856."


A remarkable phenomenon occurred at Cleveland in July, 1881, which is thus described by the Signal Service officer at that port: "At 5:30 in the morning there was a slight breeze from off land in a southerly direction, and at 6 o'clock there was almost a calm, while to the northward a dark cloud appeared like a curtain, and at the same time was heard a rumbling sound. At 6:20 there came up a large green colored wave, with no crest, which approached from the northwest with great rapidity, and soon after the passage of the wave the wind returned to its original quarter. The cloud, wave and wind seemed to travel together. The wave was about nine feet above the present level of the lake. The highest barometer in the country occurred in the city yesterday morning, viz., 30.15. The recoil of the wave along the line of the shore caused two smaller receding waves, parallel to the shore, and from fifty to seventy-five feet apart."


Similar occurrences are reported as having happened on the other lakes. Col. Charles Whittlesey, of Cleveland, has kept a record of some of the most prominent of these events, from which we learn that "on Lake Superior, in 1879, opposite Isle Royal, there was a sudden fall of four feet in the waters. When they returned, they did so with a rush, the vibration continuing for several hours. In 1834, the waters above the Sault Rapids suddenly receded, and in half an hour returned with great velocity. In August, 1845, Dr. Foster states that while in an open boat between Copper Harbor and Eagle River, an enormous surge, twenty feet in height and crested with foam, rolled toward the shore, succeeded by two or three swells. Dr. Foster observed repeated flows and reflux of the waters in 1847, 1848 and 1849, which preceded or followed storms on the lake. In 1858, D. D. Brockway reported, in a perfect calm, a sudden rise of one foot and three inches, and in another two and one-half feet. The Lake Superior News of July 17, 1855, reports extreme fluctuations between the hours of nine in the morning and four in the evening. Father Andre, in 1670, while on Green Bay, reported a three-feet rise, but this was accompanied by a northwester. On April 14, 1858, the Milwaukee Sentinel reported a change of level in Lake Michigan of six feet."


Bay of Presque Isle.-- The Bay of Presque Isle, forming the harbor of Erie -- the only one in the county -- is a quiet and beautiful body of water, about five miles long, with a breadth ranging from a mile and a quarter to nearly two miles. The long and narrow sand bank which divides it from the lake is known as the Peninsula, or in French as Presque Isle, meaning "nearly an island." Within a hundred years, the bay extended by a narrow channel half a mile further westward than it does now, the action of the sands and the earth brought down by the two little streams at the head having caused the restriction of its limits. The entrance to the bay is at its eastern end, between two long piers which create an artificial channel 200 feet wide. Before the Government improvements were made, the mouth of the bay was nearly a mile in width, and obstructed by a bar which afforded only six to eight feet of water. Now the largest vessels upon the lake can enter easily, and when within the bay are secure against the worst storms. Two noble lighthouses direct mariners to the entrance, while the course of the channel is made clear by a series of range lights. At the head of the bay, the peninsula is only a few rods in width, and so low that the water sometimes washes over during winter gales. Within a few years, this neck has been protected by a barrier of piles and heavy timbers, at the cost of the General Government. A channel was opened across this portion of the peninsula many years ago, and several vessels passed through, but the experiment was unsatisfactory, and the passage was allowed to close up. The greatest depth of water in the bay is nearly opposite the Pittsburgh docks, where the lead touches bottom at twenty-seven feet.


Misery Bay is a small subdivision of the bay proper at its northeastern extremity. Its name was suggested by Lieut. Holdup during the war of 1814, when the vessels of the Lake Erie squadron were anchored there. The gloomy weather that prevailed, and the uncomfortable condition of the crews made the title eminently appropriate. Within this little bay were sunk two of the vessels of Perry's fleet, the Lawrence and Niagara. The former was raised and taken to the Centennial Exhibition in 1876; the latter still lies at the bottom of the bay on the side next to the lighthouse. Both of the bays freeze over in winter, and usually continue closed until about the 1st of April. They abound in fish, and are a famous resort for anglers. A number of pleasure yachts ply upon the quiet waters of the bays, and sail boats and row boats are always to be had at the best houses along the public pier. (For a further account of the bay and harbor, see Erie City.)


The Interior Lakes
In the interior of the county are three small lakes -- LeBoeuf, Pleasant and Conneauttee -- all of which lie on the south side of the dividing ridge, and empty into French Creek.


Lake LeBoeuf-- This lake is in Waterford Township, on the southwestern edge of Waterford Borough. It is about two-thirds of a mile long, by half a mile wide. The lake is fed by LeBoeuf Creek and Boyd and Trout Runs. Its outlet falls into French Creek In LeBoeuf Township.


Lake Pleasant, in the southwestern corner of Venango Township, is about two-thirds of a mile long by a third of a mile wide, with a depth of five to fifty feet. It has no tributary streams except two tine rivulets, and is apparently fed by springs in the bottom. The outlet joins French Creek in Amity Township.


Lake Conneauttee lies on the northern side of Edinboro, and is partly in that borough and partly in Washington Township. Its length is about a mile, and its width a little over a half mile. The deepest water is about fifty feet. Big Conneauttee Creek enters at its northern extremity, and leaves at the southern, continuing on to Crawford County, where it unites with French Creek.


Bridges, Culverts, Etc.
Where there are so many streams, it follows as a consequence that there must be a great number of bridges. None of these are very extensive or costly compared with the immense structures that are found in other parts of the Union. The most important public bridges are those which span French Creek in Amity, Waterford and LeBoeuf Townships; Conneaut Creek in Conneaut Township, and upon the line between that township and Springfield; the South Branch of French Creek in Union City and Township; Elk Creek in Fairview and Girard Townships; Walnut Creek in Fairview and Mill Creek Townships; the Big Conneauttee at Edinboro; and LeBoeuf Creek in Waterford Township.


The iron bridges of the "Nickle Plate" railroad over Crooked, Elk, Walnut and Twenty Mile Creeks, are the longest and costliest in the county. This company have made use of iron almost entirely in crossing the numerous streams along the lake shore. State street in Erie is spanned by three good iron bridges belonging to the railroad companies. The Philadelphia & Erie Railroad has a lofty trestle work over Mill Creek, near Belle Valley, and fine wooden bridges over LeBoeuf Creek, in Waterford Township; French Creek in LeBoeuf; and the South Branch in Union and Concord.


On the line of the Erie & Pittsburgh road, Crooked Creek is spanned by a formidable bridge and trestle work in Girard Township, while other bridges of importance cross Conneaut Creek in the township of the same name. The townships which are subjected to the most expense on account of bridges are LeBoeuf, conneaut and Springfield.


The Lake Shore Railroad formerly overcame the gullies of Twenty Mile Creek, Sixteen Mile Creek, Walnut Creek, Elk Creek and Crooked Creek by extensive trestle works, which have been replaced by substantial culverts and embankments that cost many thousands of dollars. Most of the streams upon the line of this road are now spanned by stone culverts or iron bridges. It is not to be doubted that wherever culverts are practicable the example of the Lake Shore Company will eventually imitated by the other railroad corporations.


Within the limits of Erie almost all the city bridges over Mill Creek have given way to durable stone culverts. An elegant culvert was thrown across the East Branch of Conneaut Creek, in Conneaut Township, for the use of the canal, which still remains, and is used for a public road.


The aqueducts of the canal over Walnut Creek, in Fairview Township, and Elk Creek in Girard, were at one time looked upon as wonders of engineering and mechanical skill.


Bibliography: Samuel P. Bates, History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, (Warner, Beers & Co.: Chicago, 1884), Chapter IV, pp. 155-166.


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