A Look At Flumes

Published: Northwest Signal, Wednesday, July 28, 2014

Editor’s note: This year marks the 180th anniversary of Napoleon. To mark the occasion, the Henry County Historicla Society is providing monthly looks at the city’s history.

(Reprinted with permission of the Northwest Signal)

Flume SchematicWe only have a couple more history lessons before we celebrate Napoleon's 180th birthday, and todayís topic is flumes.

This is a subject I knew nothing about so I appreciate Russell Pattersonís patience in explaining it to me. Flumes were 8 feet by 8 feet arched structures built in the channel running from the canal to the river. They were 212 feet in length and were constructed with double brick walls. The water flowed through the flumes over a waterwheel, powering a millstone, this providing power and energy for the various industries along the canal.

Flume PhotoFlumesIt is believed there were at least four flumes in Napoleon, one for each of four businesses in town. At one point, some years ago, a flume was uncovered while working on the Central School parking lot. It was determined to possibly have been used by the woolen mill. The most recent flume discovery was in 2005. It was revealed when the Maumee River bridge was removed and was located near the site of the former Vocke Mill.

(Information courtesy of Henry County Historical Society and Russell Patterson.)