Down the Road

Roads and life and how roads are like life

Whatever happened to Tadmor?

16

I said in my last post that west of Columbus, the National Road and US 40 were, with a couple exceptions, a straight shot all the way to Indiana. Here are the couple exceptions.

In March of 1913 more than eight inches of rain fell on frozen ground in the Great Miami River watershed. The water couldn’t sink into the ground so it ran off, broke through levees, and flooded the city of Dayton up to 20 feet deep. It remains Ohio’s greatest natural disaster. So that this could never happen again, the Miami Conservancy District was formed, and it built levees and dams and even straightened the river channel. Unfortunately, this work caused the National Road to be rerouted in two places directly north of Dayton. The reroutings aren’t particularly graceful, either. But the flood-control project worked, and in the years since parks were built in some of the displaced land.

As I made my way from east to west, I first encountered the rerouting around the Taylorsville MetroPark. A great dam carries US 40.

Taylorsville Dam

Before any trip along the National Road, I normally consult George Stewart’s great book, US 40: Cross-Section of the United States of America. Stewart drove US 40 across the country in 1949 and 1950 and took photos along the way. I like to photograph the same places he did. I simply forgot to check Stewart’s book before this trip, but after I returned home I was delighted to find that I had taken a photo of this dam from the same place he did.

Tadmor was a little town on the National Road’s original alignment north of this dam. It suffered some damage in the 1913 floods, but a covered bridge over the Great Miami River remained intact, and traffic still moved through Tadmor, and so townspeople stuck around. But when the National Road was rerouted over this dam, Tadmor’s future dimmed considerably and so everybody left. Very little is left of Tadmor today, but the site is reachable via the trails inside Taylorsville MetroPark.

Tadmor, OH

A small sign says you’ve arrived.

Tadmor, OH

I understand that the foundation of at least one house, the abutments from the covered bridge, and perhaps evidence of the old road remain, though they require some effort to reach. Unfortunately, it was 98 degrees this day, and by the time my dog and I got here the heat was beginning to affect us. We needed to get back to the car where cold water awaited us. Before we turned around, we did see these abutments from what I’m guessing was a railroad bridge.

Tadmor, OH

I tip my hat to my road-loving colleague Denny Gibson who visited Tadmor before me and wrote about it. I probably wouldn’t have known about Tadmor otherwise!

I love to find abandoned and overlooked places, such as this bridge and this cemetery, next to each other on the National Road in Indiana.

16 thoughts on “Whatever happened to Tadmor?

    1. Jim Post author

      The folks in Dayton were way more interested in protecting the lives and property of its citizens than about saving poor little Tadmor. I’m not sure I blame them, actually.

  1. Denny Gibson

    Thanks for the shout out. I put that page up after my first visit to Tadmor and I’ve learned a few things since then. When I did that page, I hadn’t seen the abutment for the big covered bridge or the remnants of the aqueduct. There are traces of the old road at the top of the hill and a waterfall where horses cooled off after the climb. Drop me a note before you go back if you’d like some pointers. I’m sure you could spend a happy afternoon there. I’m guessing you’ve seen it but I’ll still mention the article on Tadmor and the two dams in the Autumn 2007 issue of American Road Magazine. It has a picture of the abutment for the big bridge.

    BTW, the abutments in your last picture are from a horse & wagon bridge over the canal. When I first saw it I assumed it was a Nation Road bridge. Not so. The National Road came across the covered bridge and immediately crossed the canal on a smaller bridge. The canal and river split apart at that point and the bridge provided access to the land between them. Must have been some pretty important folks out there.

    1. Jim Post author

      I wanted to explore — and I knew I hadn’t quite reached the National Road’s alignment — but it was brutally hot and I didn’t bring enough water for me and the dog. So when I reached the abutment I photographed, I decided I had to turn around. Maybe I’ll go back another day — it would be a nice day trip.

  2. RICHARD BARTON

    THIS IS FOR DENNY GIBSON , I LIVE AT OLD TADMORE FROM 1937 TO 1959, IN THE OLD HOUSE THAT SURVIVED THE FLOOD AND ALSO WAS NOT DESTROYED WHEN THE RAILROAD WAS MOVED TO HIGHER GROUND, MY NAME IS RICHARD BARTON AND I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU, I LOVE THAT OLD PLACE THAT I GREW UP IN

    1. david reichert

      I remember you! I was a little boy when you were the “bus boy”that held up the stop sign when kids got off the school bus.I thought that was such a big deal and wanted to do that when I got big.But the school quit all that and that was the end of it. O for the good old days.

    2. DennyG

      Richard, I just now saw this many months late. I can find no contact information. If you by chance see this, clicking on my name should take you to my website where a click on the word “Email” will allow you to send a message.

  3. Barb

    I just took my teenage daughter there today just to do some exploring. We walked the old road path through the woods. We stood an top of what was left of the old bridge and saw what wad left of the foundation from the store and I’m assuming post office. We had a wonderful time. It just gave me chills to see this stuff and to actually be able to touch stuff that has been around for so long.

    1. Jim Post author

      Barb, how excellent that you got to see some of the town’s remains! I hope this heat wave didn’t do you two in as you hiked there and back.

  4. larry

    I grew up with a fella named Spencer Sunderland. He wrote a detailed article on Tadmore when we where in school. We graduated from Vandalia-Butler H.S. in 1971. The falls mentioned was named after his family, hence, Sunderland Falls. Before the homes where built there was a trail that led directly from the falls to Tadmore. My friends and I traveled that trail often. Too bad its gone.

  5. Pingback: Favorite Places to Drive / Walk / Bike around the Dayton Metro? - City-Data Forum

  6. Ron Reitz

    I rode my bike from Dayton to Tipp City the other day and enjoyed looking at the remnants of the canal. I also suggest riders to visit Tipp City to see remnants of the locks, an old canal boat behind an old mill, and to enjoy this jewel of middle America.

    1. Tom Ratterman

      If you are into remnants of the old canal system, make sure to take in Lockington.
      A feat of engineering in its day!

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