Scioto River (/saɪˈoʊtoʊ/ sy-OH-toh or /saɪˈoʊtə/
sy-OH-tə) is a river in central and southern
Ohio more than 231 miles
(372 km) in length. It rises in
Auglaize County in west
central Ohio, flows through Columbus, Ohio, where it collects its
largest tributary, the Olentangy River, and meets the
Ohio River at
Portsmouth. Early settlers and Native Americans used the river for
shipping but it is now too small for modern commercial shipping.
The primary economic importance for the Scioto river now is for
recreation and drinking water.
1 Geography and geology
4 Dams and reservoirs
5 Cities and towns along the Scioto River
6 Variant names
7 See also
9 External links
Geography and geology
In western Hardin County, within one mile (1.6 km) of its source
Scioto River valley is large compared to the width of the
river and is extensively farmed. Meltwaters from retreating glaciers
carved the valley exceptionally wide. Valley bottoms are smooth, and
flood deposits created during and since the most recent Glacial period
cause floodplain soils to be very productive. As a result, farms line
much of the lower Scioto where it flows through low, rolling hills
covered in hardwood trees.
The geologic history of the
Scioto River is tied to the destruction of
Teays River network during the Ice Ages and consequent creation of
Ohio River. The north flowing
Teays River was dammed by glaciers,
and damming of other rivers led to a series of floods as lakes
overflowed into adjacent valleys.
Glacial Lake Tight
Glacial Lake Tight is estimated to
have been two-thirds the size of modern Lake Erie. Valleys beyond the
reach of glaciers were reorganized to create the
Ohio River, and the
Scioto River replaced the Teays River. The
Scioto River flows through
segments of the
Teays River valley but opposite the direction the
Teays River flowed. In the cities of Columbus and Dublin, the river
has cut a gorge in fossil-bearing
Devonian limestone, and many
tributary streams have waterfalls, such as Hayden Falls.
Scioto River in Columbus, Ohio
Scioto River valley was home to many Native American cultures. The
best known groups are the Mound Builders of the Hopewell tradition
with mounds constructed by the Adena people more then 2000 years ago.
Numerous burial mounds can be seen near Chillicothe at the Hopewell
Culture National Historic Park. The former strength of these cultures
is demonstrated in settler accounts from as far east as Virginia. The
name Scioto is derived from the Wyandot word skɛnǫ·tǫ’ 'deer'
(compare Shenandoah, derived from the word for deer in another
During the antebellum years, the
Scioto River provided a route to
freedom for many slaves escaping from the South, as they continued
north after crossing the
Ohio River. Towns such as Chillicothe became
important stops on the Underground Railroad.
A traditional fiddle tune in the Appalachian repertoire, “Big
Scioty”, takes its name from the river. The melody is attributed to
the Hammons family of West Virginia.
In 2012, the river dropped to record- or near-record-low water levels
as a result of the acute effects of the
2012 North American drought
2012 North American drought in
Threats facing the river include agricultural pollutants from upstream
and urban-generated pollutants such as contaminated street runoff and
waterborne litter. Rapid residential and commercial development in the
watershed is increasing stormwater runoff.
Dams and reservoirs
There are two major dams on the river.
Griggs Dam in Columbus was
built in 1904–1908 to impound a water supply for the city. Farther
upstream, at Shawnee Hills, the O'Shaughnessy Dam was built in
1922–1925 creating a larger reservoir which was billed at the time
as "the finest inland waterway in the United States." Both dams are
operated by the city of Columbus.
The removal of the Main Street Dam in downtown Columbus, which was
built in 1921, began in November 2013. The removal was initially
proposed in the 2010 Strategic Plan for downtown Columbus; the $35.5
million project is being funded by a coalition of public and private
entities, including the City of Columbus, Mid-
Ohio Regional Planning
Ohio Department of Transportation,
Protection Agency, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Columbus
Downtown Development Corporation, Franklin County Board of
Commissioners, Metro Parks, The Columbus Foundation, and Battelle.
Prior to its demolition, the Main Street Dam impounded roughly 2.3
miles (3.7 km) of the Scioto River, artificially enlarging its
width to an average of 500 feet (150 m) in downtown Columbus.
Once completed, the Scioto Greenways project will reduce the width by
nearly half, and expose 33 acres (13 ha) of land which will be
reclaimed as parkland by the city. Riffles and pools will be restored
to the river channel, returning it to its natural riparian state.
Experts believe the restoration project will result in a healthier
river and better habitat for native plant, fish, and mussel
Cities and towns along the Scioto River
Scioto River near South Bloomfield
Cities and towns, listed from upstream to downstream:
According to the Geographic Names Information System, the Scioto River
has also been known as:
Big Sciota River
Big Scioto River
Great Siota River
List of rivers of Ohio
Little Scioto River
^ "Arthur Benke & Colbert Cushing, "Rivers of North America".
Elsevier Academic Press, 2005 ISBN 0-12-088253-1
^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System:
^ "Map of
Scioto River Valley Federation".
^ a b "
Scioto River –
Ohio History Central""
Scioto River – Ohio
History Central". ohiohistorycentral.org. Retrieved 26 February
^ "Main Street dam's days are numbered". The Columbus Dispatch.
November 26, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
^ Caruso, Doug (April 3, 2012). "Full text of the Main Street Dam
Removal study" (PDF). The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved December 19,
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scioto River.
Hopewell Culture National Historic Park