The village of Providence was founded by a Frenchman, Peter Manor, who was the first white man to move up the Maumee River . He arrived there in 1816 in order to establish a fur trading post for the Northwestern Fur Company. In 1822, Manor had a sawmill erected next to the river, and a gristmill was built in 1835.
Talk of the proposed Miami and Erie Canal and a lack of goods and services required by westward travelers prompted Manor to plot the town. In 1837, the State of Ohio granted Manor a contract to begin construction, and the town was soon open for business. By 1843, some of the eighty-eight lots laid out were vacated. The village was, in general, considered a favorable place to live by the westward travelers, often seen as a haven from the problems of lawlessness, drinking, fighting, and crime that typically plagued Ohio canal towns (Rettig, 18).
The fall of Providence began when fire swept through the village in 1846. The fire was catastrophic and destroyed most of the central business district. The buildings that were destroyed were never rebuilt, leaving the people of Providence to a more practical life. Tragedy struck again in 1854 when travelers through the village infested it with cholera. Those that kept their lives left Providence so fast that most of their possessions were left behind.
The remaining structures were eventually destroyed or moved, and the land plots disappeared. On October 28, 1928, the county officially removed Providence from its records. The remaining buildings, the church and the mill, have been designated an historic district by the Department of the Interior.
Once the canal began operation, the people of Providence experienced a dramatic lifestyle change. The local economy boomed because of the surplus produce, pelts, grain, and other goods that constantly flowed through the village. When the railroad was completed, the canal was abandoned. The slow pace and low capacity of canal boats was no match for locomotives.
Near the gristmill was Lock No. 9 of the canal system which has been restored. It is now part of Providence Metropark that includes the fully operational Isaac Ludwig mill. The park runs a replica canal boat for visitors that travels along the small section of canal and goes through Lock No. 9.