Begin your journey into
the past . . .
Explore Life in Middletown,
|Daniel Doty is considered the "father" of Middletown but it was
Stephen Vail, who in 1802 platted fifty-two lots from his one hundred acre
purchase. Doty was the pioneer, the first to settle in the vicinity
of Middletown. In 1796, he brought his family from New Jersey to
live in the "Little Prairie," the name he had given the area he had first
explored in 1791. Vail was the farmer and land speculator, naming
his plat Middle-town. Perhaps, he believed the location on the Great
Miami River would be in the middle of what would become Butler County in
The Excello, the last canal boat to
leave Middletown, 1906
||Middletown's future as a center of trade was made possible by the
Miami-Erie Canal, which offered a better means of transportation than the
Great Miami River or the poor roads of the time. Work on the canal
began on Daniel Doty's farm in July, 1825. The first portions of
the canal were completed in January, 1829, and connected Middletown with
Dayton and Cincinnati. By 1845, the canal extended from Lake Erie
(Toledo) to the Ohio River (Cincinnati). Communities along the canal
were well served until the packet boats were made obsolete by the railroads.
The last canal boat left Middletown in 1906.
Main Street looking south from Third
If you had lived in Middletown in earlier times, you might have been
upon to work in the city's fast-growing industries.
Learn about the manufacturers
which called Middletown home.
© 2000, Butler County Historical Society