The historical marker to be placed at the site of the 1887 Reservoir War will be dedicated on Saturday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. Originally scheduled for April 2020, the dedication was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ceremony will take place east of Antwerp at the intersection of Canal Road (County Road 180) and High Road (Township Road 77) in Crane Township. The marker is being placed at the northeast corner of the former Six Mile Reservoir where 134 years ago locals, fed up with the disease-causing stagnant body of water, dynamited the banks of the reservoir, as well as some of the locks along the Wabash & Erie Canal, after earlier legal avenues to abandon the reservoir and canal were defeated.
Paulding County’s motto, “No Compromise!,” came from a banner carried by the “Dynamiters” in the Reservoir War.
The historical events surrounding the destruction of the reservoir by an anonymous band of locals have long interested Judge Michael Wehrkamp and author and historian Jane Nice, who joined forces to apply for the marker through the Ohio History Connection in 2019.
To not be able to dedicate the marker in 2020 as part of Paulding County’s Bicentennial was disappointing to Wehrkamp and Nice.
“Ironically, we have had to do so much compromising this past year,” said Nice. “We are just happy to be able to see this project finally happen, and to preserve this important piece of our history for years to come.”
Wehrkamp agrees, “We are thrilled to be dedicating the marker, especially on the eve of the 134th anniversary of the Reservoir War. Our aim is to provide a memorable ceremony that honors the event and all those who have made the marker possible.”
Among other information, the application for the historical marker called for a statement of significance, which essentially is a documented research paper, as well as proposed marker language. Wehrkamp and Nice collaborated over several months to finalize the application. Out of the 70 applications the Ohio History Connection received that year, the Reservoir War marker was one of 27 chosen, and one of ten to receive a $1,000 grant.
The Reservoir War marker will be the fifth of its kind to be placed within the county. Others are at the Paulding County Courthouse, the main branch of the Paulding County Carnegie Library, downtown Antwerp, and in Junction at the intersection of the Miami & Erie and Wabash & Erie canals.
Cooper Farms, Inc., the John Paulding Historical Society, the Antwerp Community Development Committee, and the Ohio History Connection sponsored the marker.
The marker dedication will be held rain or shine, and a reception with refreshments will immediately follow at the Antwerp Schools auditorium. COVID-19 protocols will be followed. The event is open to the public.