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Marietta, known as the "River City," was the first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territory. In 1788, General Rufus Putnam and 48 pioneers founded this organized settlement at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, eventually leading it to become a major riverboat community with many steamboat-building yards. Marietta was a main thoroughfare for people migrating to the new frontier, including those seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad route. Marietta's accessibility from the rivers and both rail and road has made Marietta the hub of business, industry, education, and recreation in Southeastern Ohio for centuries. Today's downtown business and residential areas still reflect its long and rich history.