The Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers merge from Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River, which moves southwest for over 950 miles, then empties into the Mississippi River in Illinois. Either bordering or winding through six states, the Ohio River was once considered the border separating the free states from the slave states. Winding down the western border of Ohio and the northern panhandle of West Virginia, the Ohio River carries about 230 tons of cargo each year, mostly coal and other energy products.
The river winds through the Ohio towns and cities of Steubenville, Martins Ferry, Bellaire, Marietta, Racine and Gallipolis, Portsmouth and Cincinnati.
Life along the Ohio Riverbanks tends to be rough, since the housing tends to be in the more industrial regions, but residents remain armed in the force of the water. Recently, in 2004 the River caused a major flood, spilling into several parts of the northern panhandle of West Virginia and causing many businesses and homes to go, quite literally, underwater.