Aerial photo of OU in 1967

An aerial photo taken in 1967 shows the Convocation Center under construction next to OU’s West Green, as well as the original river channel skirting the north side of West Green. The next year, 1968, a major flood overran the banks of the Hocking. Photos courtesy of The Hocking Conservancy District.

Today, a half century after the massive civil-engineering project took place to dig a new channel for the Hocking River’s path through Athens, many people take it for granted. Yet, the variety of current interest groups involved with river now have a more nuanced and environmentally conscious perspective than they might have in 1969-71.

To new Ohio University students, the Hocking River that flows gently along the edge of campus may seem normal, even a bit sterile. To most, the river walk along the bike path is just that — a river walk. But to many older natives of Athens, the Hocking River that flows through the city, along its mainly treeless banks, is not the same river from their own distant memories.


An aerial photo taken in 1969 shows the process of channelization underway just to the east and south of the South Green and to the right the apartment complex then called Lakeview apartments (now Riverpark Towers). The original channel can be seen far in the background fringed by trees as well as a mostly completed Convocation Center. Photos courtesy of The Hocking Conservancy District.

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