Cowles Creek rises in Austinburg Township and receives the waters of Muddy Brook and Marsh Creek before ending its journey at Lake Erie, west of The Lodge.
Noah Cowles is the stream’s namesake. He was the first white man to settle near the stream, in Austinburg Township. Cowles went deeply in debt on
a gristmill project in Mechanicsville and a vain attempt to save the life of his sickly wife.
A narrow and shallow waterway today, in Cowles’ era this creek was the site of a dock that received shipments of limestone from Kelly‘s Island; the stone was reduced to lime in a kiln on Cowles Creek. A lumber industry also developed in this area due to the stands of high quality whitewood, used for building, and white oak, which was milled into barrel staves that were shipped to Europe.
In the early 20th century, this area was eyed for a steel mill project. Land was acquired by the steel company Jones & Laughlin.
There also were discussions about building a lake port at the mouth of Wheeler, Cowles or Indian creeks as the northern terminus of a proposed canal linking the lake to the Ohio River.