Roscoe Village is an idyllic painting come to life. Renowned illustrator and muralist Dean Cornwell vibrantly captured life on the banks of the Ohio and Erie Canal in a 24-by-8 foot mural to commemorate the sesquicentennial celebration of the founding of Coshocton.
“Canal Days,” which depicts the Roscoe area and can be seen in the Chase Bank building, at 120 S. Fourth St., captured the imagination of prominent Coshocton industrialist, Edward E. Montgomery.
Inspired, Montgomery and his wife, Frances, purchased the 1840 Toll House in 1961 and endeavored to revive, restore and reclaim the then burgeoning port town to a time when the Ohio and Erie Canal bustled with boats and barges
August 21, 1830
The port town that was to become Roscoe was laid out in 1816 after a bankrupt merchant bet that rural farmers would rather do business there than have to shell out 25 cents for the ferryboat to Coshocton. On the heels of that hunch, James Calder set up shop across the Muskingum River and named the spot Caldersburgh after himself. Caldersburgh was renamed Roscoe in 1830 in honor of William Roscoe, an English historian and a leading abolitionist of the time.
The construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal in the 1820s was a boon to the burgeoning village. The first canal boat, the Monticello, landed at Roscoe on August 21, 1830.
Roscoe became the fourth largest wheat port on the 350-mile canal system that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River.
Roscoe thrived until the 1860s, when the canals gave way to the railroads. Although the canal system continued to operate, Roscoe steadily ceded its position until the once-prosperous port town was swept away in the Great Flood of 1913.
Today, the restored Roscoe Village stands as a testament to Ohio’s bygone Canal era. Edward E. Montgomery created what he called, “a living museum, so that people of the 20th century and beyond could enjoy a ‘step back in time’ to the 19th century where aged brick buildings, costumed interpreters and quaint shops bring the canal era back to life.” The picturesque Roscoe Village has become a major tourist destination in Ohio.
The great flood of 1913
Roscoe Village as seen from the waters of the Walhonding River during the Great Flood of 1913.
The Great Flood of 1913 washed over several states between March 23 and 26, and left over a quarter-million people homeless. The Great Flood of 1913 lingers as Ohio’s largest weather-related disaster.
This historical Toll House building was the home of Jacob Welsh. Welsh is on record as having been a toll collector from 1836-1837. This was the first building to be restored in 1968.