The Mc Laughlin Dry Dock occupied property east of Cherry Street along the canal. “This privately operated boat building and repair station or dry dock was begun in 1830 by the Ruch family of Fulton. Little is known of this early operation, but Michael Ruch built the present Bliler home on East Cherry Street, and Ruch and Klein were operators of the Fulton Brewery, which was located on Wooster Street on the east side of town. In 1860, E.J. McLaughlin purchased the dry dock business and operated it until 1913 when the flood destroyed the canal forever as an avenue of commerce.
In a sketch drawn by Mr. Waldo Streby of North Canton, and as recalled by Charles W. and Jess McLaughlin, the original dock area had a wood floor and walls, and provided two rows of stanchions for canal boats. There were two sets of gates and a swing bridge through the towpath for entry and exit of boats to the canal. Water was fed through these gates to fill the dock area and drained through the opposite end into the Tuscarawas River. Opposite the dock, the canal was widened to allow eighty-foot long boats to make the turn through the towpath opening.
Adjacent to the dock itself was a frame building used as an office and for storage. On one end, a lean-to housed a water tank and fire pit to produce steam, which was piped outside to a steam box. Boat hull planks were placed in this box for steaming, which made them pliable for bending around the curvature of the boat hulls.”
A portion of McLaughlin’s dry-dock was restored and used as a repair facility when the St. Helena II was nearing completion. Funds for the restoration were derived from the Stark County Commissioners and privately raised funds including a large portion from the McLaughlin family.