Milepost 20.8 – Eastbound Between Exit 13 and 25
County: Williams How it got its name
APlus® Convenience Store
Representative of the major engineering tasks necessary in the construction of the 241-mile Ohio Turnpike was moving the channel of the Tiffin River to accommodate the requirements of the big expressway across Ohio.
Rising in southern Michigan near the Ohio-Michigan border, the meandering Tiffin River, also called Bean Creek, flows southward across Fulton, Williams and Defiance Counties to the Maumee River. The turnpike crosses the Tiffin River in Fulton County, near the Williams County line, about 4-1/2 miles east of the Tiffin River Service Plaza. The section through which the river passes, once an almost impenetrable forest, is now a prosperous farming area.
The Tiffin River was named for Dr. Edward Tiffin, Ohio’s first governor, who won fame for defeating the plans of Aaron Burr to establish a western empire.
To take the Ohio Turnpike across the river which bears Governor Tiffin’s name, the contractors constructed a straight new channel for the stream about 300 feet to the east of the old winding course, and sealed off the old channel for a length of about 1,000 feet. This operation provided a more suitable crossing for a turnpike and protected the roadways from possible future flooding.
Many of the engineering problems confronting the builders of the Ohio Turnpike were created thousands of years ago by glaciers which pushed down Canada. Moving back and forth across northern Ohio, these mammoth blankets of ice changed the courses of rivers, leveled the hills, filled in the valleys, and moved rock, debris and lake bottom material from one place to another in helter-skelter fashion. The Tiffin River, for example, flows southward to the Maumee, which in pre-glacial days flowed on southward to the Ohio River. Now the Maumee River flows north into Lake Erie, which was hollowed out by the glaciers. Thus water in the Tiffin River flows southward and then, upon entering the Maumee, flows back northward to about the same latitude from which it started.