The 9th Most Embarrassing Moment of Ohio History is…
9. Rhodes Road to Canada
Columbus (1965). In July of 1965 Ohio Governor James Rhodes announced his plan to construct a bridge from Ohio to Ontario. The Bridge would have stretched up to 50 miles over open water, and cost the State of Ohio upwards of $786 Million dollars, several billion in todays dollars. Most laughed at the idea and asked where was the need for such an outrageously expensive project that would only be able to be partially finished without Canadas permission and support. Many also wondered at the feasibility of crossing a lake infamous for swallowing boats in winter. Eries gales, that start as early as November, can produce hurricane-force winds, 35 foot waves (on a planned twenty foot bridge), and send chunks of ice flying with car-crunching force. Governor Rhodes never reached his zenith of zaniness; his dream of a bridge to Canada was finally put to rest when John Gilligan took office in 1971 and wisely abandoned the road of his predecessor.
Photograph of the not always tranquil Lake Erie from the Ohio Guide Collection, State Archives Series 1039 AV, housed in the Ohio Historical Society Archives.
Further reading: Toledo Blade. 1970. One Factor is Missing in Rhodes Bridge Plan. July 25, page 8. The Bryan Times. 1970. Rhodes to name lake bridge study panel. July 16, page 1. Whipple, Edson. 1966. 5 Possible Routes Under Study for Lake Erie Span. Toledo Blade, Jan 24, page 2.
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