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The Monongahela River
River
(/məˌnɒŋɡəˈhiːlə, -ˈheɪ-/ mə-NONG-gə-HEE-lə, -HAY-)[10] — often referred to locally as the Mon (/ˈmɒn/) — is a 130-mile-long (210 km)[6] river on the Allegheny Plateau
Allegheny Plateau
in north-central West Virginia
West Virginia
and southwestern Pennsylvania, which flows from south to north. The Monongahela joins the Allegheny River
River
to form the Ohio River
Ohio River
at Pittsburgh.

Contents

1 Etymology

1.1 Variant names

2 Geography 3 History

3.1 Ice Age 3.2 18th and 19th centuries 3.3 20th century

4 Gallery 5 See also 6 Notes and references 7 Bibliography 8 External links

Etymology[edit] The Unami word Monongahela means "falling banks", in reference to the geological instability of the river's banks. Moravian missionary David Zeisberger (1721–1808) gave this account of the naming: "In the Indian tongue the name of this river was Mechmenawungihilla (alternatively spelled Menawngihella), which signifies a high bank, which is ever washed out and therefore collapses."[11] The Lenape Language Project renders the word as Mënaonkihëla (pronounced [mənaoŋɡihəla]), translated "where banks cave in or erode",[12] from the verbs mënaonkihële "the dirt caves off" (such as the bank of a river or creek, or in a landslide)[13] and mënaonke (pronounced [mənaoŋɡe]), "it has a loose bank" (where one might fall in).[14] Monongalia County and the town of Monongah, both in West Virginia, are named for the river, as is the city of Monongahela in Pennsylvania. (The name "Monongalia" is either a Latinized adaptation of "Monongahela" or simply a variant spelling.) Variant names[edit] According to the Geographic Names Information System, the Monongahela River
River
has also been known historically as:[5]

Malangueulé[15] Manaungahela River Me-nan-gi-hil-li Meh-non-au-au-ge-hel-al Mehmannaunringgehlau Mehmannauwinggehla Mo-hon-ga-ly River Mo-hon-galy River Mo-hon-gey-e-la River Mo-hong-gey-e-la River Mohungahala River Mohunghala River Monaung River Monaungahela River

Monna River Monnyahela River Monona River Mononga River Monongahalia River Monongahaly River Monongaheley River Monongahelia River Monongalia River Monongalo River Mononguhela River Mononyahela River Muddy River

Geography[edit] The Monongahela is formed by the confluence of the West Fork River
West Fork River
and its "East Fork"—the Tygart Valley River—at Fairmont, West Virginia. The river is navigable its entire length with a series of locks and dams that maintain a minimum depth of 9 feet (2.7 m) to accommodate coal-laden barges. In southwestern Pennsylvania, the Monongahela is met by two major tributaries: the Cheat River, which joins at Point Marion, and the Youghiogheny River, which joins at McKeesport. The upper drainage area of the river basin is renowned for its water sports/hobbies of whitewater kayaking (and in some cases whitewater rafting) opportunities. The land here is of a very rugged plateau type which allows streams to gather sufficient water volume before they fall off the plateau and create challenging rapids. Some of the best known specific stream locations for this include:

Youghiogheny River
Youghiogheny River
at Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania[16] Youghiogheny River
Youghiogheny River
at Friendsville, Maryland[17] Cheat River
Cheat River
at Albright, West Virginia[18][19] Tygart River
River
at Belington, West Virginia[20][21][22]

History[edit] Ice Age[edit] During the period of the Wisconsinan glaciation
Wisconsinan glaciation
(ca. 110,000 to 10,000 years ago), what is now called the Monongahela flowed north across present-day Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
and into the Saint Lawrence River
River
watershed. An ice dam created a vast lake—known as Lake Monongahela—stretching from its outlet at present-day Beaver, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
for 200 miles (320 km) south to at least Weston, West Virginia. It was as much as 100 miles wide (160 km) at its maximum, and its surface rose at times to 1,100 feet (340 m) above sea level. Hundreds of feet deep (~100 m) in places, its western and southern overflow gradually created the present-day upper Ohio River
River
Valley.[23] 18th and 19th centuries[edit] The Monongahela River
River
valley was the site of a famous battle that was one of the first in the French and Indian War—the Braddock Expedition (May–July 1755). It resulted in a sharp defeat for two thousand British and Colonial forces against those of the French and their Native American allies. In 1817, the Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
legislature authorized the Monongahela Navigation Company to build 16 dams with bypass locks to create a river transportation system between Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
and the area that would later become West Virginia.[24] Originally planned to run as far south as the Cheat River, the system was extended to Fairmont, and bituminous coal from West Virginia
West Virginia
was the chief product transported downstream. After a canal tunnel through Grant's Hill in Pittsburgh was completed in 1832, boats could travel between the Monongahela River
River
and the Western Division Canal of Pennsylvania's principal east-west canal and railroad system, the Main Line of Public Works. In 1897, the federal government took possession of the Monongahela Navigation through condemnation proceedings. Later, the dam-lock combinations were increased in size and reduced in number.[25] In 2006, the navigation system, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, had nine dam-locks along 128.7 miles (207.1 km) of waterway.[26] The locks overcame a change in elevation of about 147 feet (44.8 m).[25] Briefly linked to the Monongahela Navigation was the Youghiogheny Navigation, a slack water system of 18.5 miles (29.8 km) between McKeesport and West Newton. It had two dam-locks overcoming a change in elevation of about 27 feet (8.2 m). Opening in 1850, it was destroyed by a flood in 1865.[25] During the 19th century, the Monongahela was heavily used by industry, and several U.S. Steel
U.S. Steel
plants, including the Homestead Works, site of the Homestead Strike
Homestead Strike
of 1892, were built along its banks. Following the killing of several workers in the course of the strike, anarchist Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman
wrote: "Words had lost their meaning in the face of the innocent blood spilled on the banks of the Monongahela." 20th century[edit] Three ships in the United States
United States
Navy have been named Monongahela after the river. In the 1930s, severe drought caused the river to run dry. The river was the site of a famous airplane crash that has become the subject of numerous urban legends and conspiracy theories. Early in the morning of January 31, 1956, a B-25
B-25
bomber en route from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada
Nevada
to Olmsted Air Force Base
Olmsted Air Force Base
in Pennsylvania crashed into the river near the Glenwood Bridge
Glenwood Bridge
in Homestead, Pennsylvania. All six crewmen survived the crash, but two later succumbed to exposure and drowned. Despite the relative shallowness of the water, the aircraft was never recovered.[27][28] The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a graphical representation of the flight path and flight details in 1999.[29][30] Gallery[edit]

The South Tenth Street Bridge
South Tenth Street Bridge
over the Monongahela River
River
in Pittsburgh in 2005

The Monongahela River
River
in Fairmont, West Virginia
West Virginia
in 2006

Monongahela River
River
Scene, 1857[31]

Opekiska Lock and Dam
Opekiska Lock and Dam
on the Monongahela River
River
near Fairmont, West Virginia at river mile 115 (185 km)

See also[edit]

Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
portal West Virginia
West Virginia
portal

List of crossings of the Monongahela River List of rivers of Pennsylvania List of rivers of West Virginia Geography of Pennsylvania

Notes and references[edit]

^ Google Earth
Google Earth
elevation for GNIS
GNIS
source coordinates. Retrieved on March 12, 2007. ^ Geographic Names Information System. "Geographic Names Information System entry for Tygart Valley River
Tygart Valley River
(Feature ID #1553309)". Retrieved 2007-03-12.  ^ Geographic Names Information System. "Geographic Names Information System entry for Straight Fork (headwaters tributary of West Fork River) (Feature ID #1547564)". Retrieved 2007-03-12.  ^ a b Geographic Names Information System. "Geographic Names Information System entry for West Fork River
West Fork River
(Feature ID #1548931)". Retrieved 2007-03-12.  ^ a b c d Geographic Names Information System. "Geographic Names Information System entry for Monongahela River
River
(Feature ID #1209053)". Retrieved 2007-03-12.  ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed August 15, 2011 ^ Gillespie, William H. (2006). "Monongahela River". In Ken Sullivan (ed.). The West Virginia
West Virginia
Encyclopedia. Charleston, W.Va.: West Virginia Humanities Council. p. 492. ISBN 0-9778498-0-5. CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link) ^ United States
United States
Geological Survey; USGS 03085000 Monongahela River
River
at Braddock, PA; retrieved Sep 29, 2010. ^ United States
United States
Geological Survey; USGS 03072655 Monongahela River near Masontown, PA; retrieved September 29, 2010. ^ There are several ways to pronounce this word that are acceptable. From "Geographical Names" of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition (2009): /məˌnɒnɡəˈhiːlə/, /məˌnɒɡəˈhiːlə/ or /məˌnɒŋɡəˈheɪlə/. ^ Zeisberger, David, David Zeisberger's History of the Northern American Indians in 18th Century Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania, pg 43; Wennawoods Publishing, 1999, ISBN 1-889037-17-6 ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary". Retrieved 2010-12-10.  ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary". Retrieved 2010-12-10.  ^ "Lenape Talking Dictionary". Retrieved 2010-12-10.  ^ John Gilmary Shea. Relations diverses sur la bataille du Malangueulé : gagné le 9 juillet, 1755, par les François sous M. de Beaujeu, commandant du fort du Quesne sur les Anglois sous M. Braddock, général en chef des troupes angloises. Nouvelle York : De la Presse Cramoisy, 1860. OCLC 15760312. ^ https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/1687/ ^ https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/753/ ^ https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2346/ ^ https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2347/ ^ https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2451/ ^ https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2452/ ^ https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/2453/ ^ Garton, E. Ray (2012). "Fauna of the Ice Age". Wonderful West Virginia. p. 11 (January issue). ^ Monongahela Navigation Company Copybook, 1840-1897, DAR.1937.41, The Darlington Collection, Special
Special
Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh ^ a b c Shank, William H. (1986). The Amazing Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Canals, 150th Anniversary Edition. York, Pennsylvania: American Canal and Transportation Center. p. 76. ISBN 0-933788-37-1.  ^ "Navigation". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-11-25. Retrieved 2007-11-27.  ^ Powell, Albrecht. "The Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
B-25
B-25
Ghost Bomber Mystery (1956)". About.com. Retrieved 2016-02-13.  ^ Ove, Torsten (4 April 1999). "Searchers say 'Ghost Bomber' can be found in the Mon". Retrieved 2016-02-13.  ^ James Hilston, Post-Gazette Staff Artist. "PG Graphic: One of the Mysteries of Pittsburgh: The B-25
B-25
in the Mon". Retrieved 2016-02-13.  ^ "Let's learn from the past: B-25
B-25
'Ghost Bomber'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2016-02-13.  ^ Ballou's Pictorial, issue of 21 Feb 1857

Bibliography[edit]

Bissell, Richard (1952), The Monongahela, Rinehart & Co. Callahan, James Morton and Bernard Lee Butcher (1912), Genealogical and Personal History of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. Core, Earl L. (1984), "The Monongalia River," in: Bartlett, Richard A. (ed), Rolling Rivers: An Encyclopedia of America's Rivers. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-003910-0. pp 149–52. Core, Earl L. (1974–84), The Monongalia Story: A Bicentennial History, Parsons, W.Va.: McClain Printing Co., 5 volumes; an extensive, well-documented natural & human history of the Monongahela River
River
basin.

Volume I: Prelude (1974) Volume II: The Pioneers (1976) Volume III: Discord (1979) Volume IV: Industrialization (1984) Volume V: Sophistication (1984)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Monongahela River.

U.S. Geological Survey: PA stream gaging stations  Beach, Chandler B., ed. (1914). "Monongahela". The New Student's Reference Work. Chicago: F. E. Compton and Co. 

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 248283758 LCCN: sh85086

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