Embracing a Healthy Family: Historic Indiana Wabash & Erie Canal

Historic Indiana Wabash & Erie Canal

Photo by Charles Edward

History is all around us and is right before our eyes if we look for it. Wherever I go, I love to take road trips to explore and with our recent move, this has not changed and only opened the road to more to find. On a recent expedition, I stumbled upon a road sign with "Wabash Erie Canal." I was curious as to what this peculiar sign at the start of a road in the middle of nowhere in Indiana was about so I started to Google it. As I read, it was noted how during the 19th century, canals were the main transportation hub for supplies and merchandise. In order to connect and make this interstate transportation system thrive, the Erie Canal was built. It connected the Hudson River in New York City to the Great Lakes. Then in 1827, a land grant provided the funds to build the Wabash and Erie Canal.

In 1834, the Central Canal was built which connected the Wabash River to the Ohio River starting in Peru, Indiana, through Indianapolis and continuing to Evansville. The Canal was halted due to financial reasons and was revitalized in 1845 via a land grant. The Central Canal was completed and it and the Cross-Cut Canals were joined into the Wabash and Erie Canal. This new route extended the Canal all the way to the Ohio River. To step backwards for a moment, the Cross-Cut Canal connected Terre Haute, Indiana to Worthington, Indiana. 

The Canal ended up consisting of468 miles from Toledo, Ohio to Evansville, Indiana. It had 18 major aquaducts and promoted the growth and beginnings of new towns.

Trivia: The Canal broke ground on George Washington's 100th birthday because he's credited with the idea of a canal trough through this area.

The Canal was built by hand mostly by Irish immigrants using shovels, picks, wheelbarrows and horse-drawn-slip-scoops. It is estimated that for every six feet of completed Canal in the forty-mile stretch between Indiana and Ohio, one man died. 

Today, the Canal is still visible in some places but in other places, it's been covered up. It's amazing to see and to realize that men hand dug this Canal.

For more information, check out this link for the Wabash and Erie Canal.

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