Moving coal on the Ohio River


By Lorna Hart - Special to OVP



A towboat passes Pomeroy around 1920. (Bob Graham Collection | Meigs County Public Library)

A towboat passes Pomeroy around 1920. (Bob Graham Collection | Meigs County Public Library)


Bob Graham Collection | Meigs County Public Library

The AEP Mariner passing Apple Grove on it’s way to deliver coal to the Mountaineer Power Plant located across the river from Racine, Ohio. (Shane Hayman Photography | Courtesy photo)


Shane Hayman Photography | Courtesy photo

OHIO VALLEY — Cargo moves quietly up and down the Ohio River, and those who have grown up on it’s banks see it as part of everyday life. It is nothing out of the ordinary to see dozens of towboats moving along the river, checking through locks and dams located at various points.

More than 184 million tons of cargo are transported on the Ohio River each year, with coal being the most commonly transported product. In 2017, 12 percent of coal shipped in the United States was transported by river barges — each barge carries between 1,500 and 1,750 ton of coal.

Coal transportation on the Ohio River isn’t new, and can be traced back to the early days of settlement. The first Geological Survey of Ohio in 1827-1838 identified mineral resources in the state, particularly coal. Soon after, mining began in the Ohio Valley, and the river provided a ready made source of transportation.

Coal in the region is an integral part of the fabric of the area, and it’s long history is worth exploring, but for now, just take a moment to notice the river traffic as it moves gracefully through the water, and to thank the captains and pilots for safely navigating their loads up and down the river on a daily basis.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

A towboat passes Pomeroy around 1920. (Bob Graham Collection | Meigs County Public Library)
https://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2020/11/web1_11.20-Towboat.jpgA towboat passes Pomeroy around 1920. (Bob Graham Collection | Meigs County Public Library) Bob Graham Collection | Meigs County Public Library

The AEP Mariner passing Apple Grove on it’s way to deliver coal to the Mountaineer Power Plant located across the river from Racine, Ohio. (Shane Hayman Photography | Courtesy photo)
https://www.mydailysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2020/11/web1_11.20-river.jpgThe AEP Mariner passing Apple Grove on it’s way to deliver coal to the Mountaineer Power Plant located across the river from Racine, Ohio. (Shane Hayman Photography | Courtesy photo) Shane Hayman Photography | Courtesy photo

By Lorna Hart

Special to OVP

Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.

Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.