Industry and the Ohio River go hand in hand. Mighty tugboats muscle teams of barges laden to the waterline with raw materials destined for factories and power plants along the banks. Despite the fact that Ohio may not be experiencing the best of times, it is obvious that this area's industrial roots, like its roads, are intricately woven into the fabric of the land.
Riding west across the graceful cable-suspension bridge spanning the river from Huntington, West Virginia, it's quite obvious that this is an industrial area. The river is an artery of commerce; concrete and steel rule the day. This is another province of mankind where nature is allowed to exist only within strict parameters. Dams and locks along the river harness the current for the benefit of industry. Barges both empty and full await transport to their next destination. Piers and pilings in various states of repair dot the muddy shores. Factories and warehouses, brand new to completely abandoned, are inescapable parts of the landscape. Industry and commerce have been at work forging the character of this region for centuries, from the ancient footpaths of the Shawnee to the modern factories on the banks of the Ohio River.