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.

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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30 responses to “Whatever happened to Tadmor?”

  1. ryoko861 Avatar

    How sad. You wonder if the council even gave a thought to the fact that rerouting the road would dry up the town?

    1. Jim Avatar

      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.

  2. Denny Gibson Avatar

    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 Avatar

      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. Mark Rogers Avatar
      Mark Rogers

      I have been interested in the town of Tadmor for some time and have a question.
      There must have been an aquaduct for the canal, crossing the Great Miami River around there somewhere.

      Canal locks to the north of that location are on the western side of the river but below, are on the eastern side.

      I’ve read about canal aquaduct abutments still being visible in that area but I wonder if they are talking about the old bridge abutments.

      Do you recall where the canal crossed the river?

      1. Jim Grey Avatar

        I don’t know, as it’s been 9 years since my brief visit. Hopefully Denny (who you replied to) sees this; he might know.

      2. kevinshanesy Avatar

        Hello Mark! The aquaduct abutments are on the North East side of the Taylorsville Dam. South of the dam on the east side of the Great Miami R. are remnants of the old canal. If you send me your email address I can send you a screen shot of the park map with these locations circled. 🙂

  3. doon po sa amin Avatar

    hey, jim,

    i like the shot of the dam. it’s well-lighted but serene.

    i also like the special notice given to the abutments. btw, you don’t miss any details, do you? ahehe… regards, :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks! I do miss things all the time, but obviously I don’t focus on that here on the blog!

    2. richard barton Avatar
      richard barton

      my name is richard barton, i lived in the only house that survived old tadmore,, i lived there from 1937 until 1959, it was burned down soon after, i was so sad to hear it, as a young boy i knew every tree and old foundations of tadmore, would love to hear from you, richcat71010@gmail.com



    1. david reichert Avatar
      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 Avatar

      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.

  5. Barb Avatar

    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 Avatar

      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.

  6. larry Avatar

    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.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I suppose we should be grateful for what does remain!

  7. […] so the section of road was never as heavily travelled. Here's a decent blog on the former city: Whatever happened to Tadmor? | Down the Road And some better info from the Vandalia-Butler Historical Society: […]

  8. Ron Reitz Avatar

    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 Avatar
      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!

  9. Michael Howell Avatar
    Michael Howell

    The old Sunderland homstead is still there at the beginning of our development at the falls. Cassel road has been rerouted but traces of the old road are still there all the way over the railroad tracks onto the new bike path.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s really hard to tell in the Google satellite imagery where the road used to go. Maybe one day I’ll come back and explore again.

  10. Brett Avatar

    Interesting posts about Tadmor. I never knew where this was and is actually unusual how I even got to this page. I have had an old sketch book my father picked up maybe at a garage sale years ago, That belonged from a gentlemen named Jacob S. Royer. This guy took this sketch book with him while hunting squirrels. From the multiple pages and locations he had to have been from Dayton or Englewood. This Jacob S. Royer became an commercial artist in the early 20’s or maybe a little earlier. I have tracked his paintings from what I could find on the internet and some still sell at auctions. It appears he was born in 1883 but his death is unknown. Most of the dates I have are from 1909 thru 1911 or so, 1909 would have put him around 26 yrs old at this particular sketch.. The sketches in the book are very good with great detail all in pencil. There is also details about each sketch on the back of each page. He has multiple sketches I’m assuming in the woods around Tadmor. One being dated 1908. He has a nice sketch of a large egg shaped rock and states Tadmor. Living in Tipp City and close to the Bike path it will be interesting in the spring to trek back there and at least try and find the large rock. I would like to try and find some of these places he sketched. But will have to continue researching as other sketches are named: Hilderbrandt Woods, Old Wolf Farm, Wolf Creek, Trotwood (Long Woods), Rocroix woods and Lease’s woods. Lease must have been a friend as he has sketches of a shack, or shed, and wooden fence around the property. But Tadmor I have finally found where he was many years ago. Quite interesting…

    Regards, B~

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s quite a circuitous path that brings you to Tadmor! Thanks for sharing it.

    2. William Avatar

      There is a large rock at the entrance to the old falls subdivision.

      You can see it on google street view. (1624 old falls drive, vandalia ohio)

      I haven’t seen it in person, but it does have a plaque on it, which probably denotes some historical context.

      Check it out and see if it matches the one in your sketches?


      1. William Avatar

        Wasn’t able to upload a photo, but Let’s see if this link works:


  11. Tommy Brown Avatar
    Tommy Brown

    I am interested in this area. It was once owned by my GGG Grandfather James Brown. His brother was Henry Brown of Dayton.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You have an auspicious family tree!

  12. richard Avatar

    Can anyone tell me where the two lane track is: http://richardbaumer.com/pages/ohio/taylorsville%20spring%2006.html

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s been years since I’ve been in there, but my memory is that the two-track is obvious.

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