Side A: Here in 1887, frustrated locals destroyed the Six Mile Reservoir when legal efforts to close it failed. Years after any boat ran on the Wabash & Erie Canal, its water source, the 2,000-acre reservoir, became a stagnant, uncultivable breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitos. Legislative attempts to abandon the canal and reservoir failed because manufacturers in Defiance used the waterway to float logs downstream. On the night of April 25, 1887, 200 men calling themselves “The Dynamiters” carried a banner that read, “No Compromise! The Reservoir Must Go!” and converged here, overpowered citizen guards, gouged the banks of the reservoir, dynamited the bulkhead and lock, and burned down the lockkeeper’s house. The next day, Governor Joseph B. Foraker denounced the acts of the “mob of lawless and rioting men.” (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) Governor Foraker dispatched General Henry Axline and several companies of militia from Toledo to this site, where they set up Camp Dynamite to protect state property and preserve peace. By then, the Dynamiters had dispersed, and citizens flocked to see the Gatling gun and mingle with the soldiery. The troops were recalled after a week. The conflict’s only casualty was Private Fred Reeves, who died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound. Governor Foraker visited the site a month later and was convinced of the citizens’ grievances. A bill for the abandonment of the reservoir and canal passed in the Ohio legislature and became law on April 12, 1888. On July 4, 1888, citizens of the county, joined by troops who served at Camp Dynamite, celebrated in nearby Antwerp. The Dynamiters were never punished.