A trip on the old canal

The Wabash and Erie Canal was a shipping canal that linked the Great Lakes to the Ohio River via an artificial waterway. The canal provided traders with access from the Great Lakes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.... Until the railroads arrived and Fort Wayne Indian was in the middle of it all !

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Hotbox
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A trip on the old canal

Postby Hotbox » Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:00 pm

One of you asked in a separate thread if there were any available accounts of passage on the old canal. Following is one, it reads a bit simplistic, but likely reflects the attitudes of an earlier, more casual era:

https://ia801408.us.archive.org/8/items/triponwabasherie00stee/triponwabasherie00stee.pdf

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Re: A trip on the old canal

Postby Hotbox » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:38 pm

Here are some additional links to info on the canal that i found useful.

The 4 listings for the Archive.org e-books will be of interest to anyone curious about period culture, and are downloadable in a variety of formats. Most of these I've already read at the ACPL after much searching. These links can provide the rest of you a real time saving opportunity.

https://www.acgsi.org/genweb/county/wab ... diana.html

(scroll down to find links)

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Re: A trip on the old canal

Postby cjberndt » Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:27 pm

Interesting - thanks. I've read a couple of W&E Canal books recently.

I've run the entire 981 mile Ohio River in my boat in 8+/- trips, which included side trips up every navigable creek and river that feeds the Ohio. The average elevation change through a lock on the W&E Canal was 7.25 ft., and on the Ohio it's 20 ft. I'm sure that at least one was 35 ft., and maybe more.

Craig

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Re: A trip on the old canal

Postby Hotbox » Sun Jul 16, 2017 2:48 pm

cjberndt wrote:
I've run the entire 981 mile Ohio River in my boat in 8+/- trips, which included side trips up every navigable creek and river that feeds the Ohio.

Craig


That sounds like a lot of fun. I'm jealous.

Regarding the canal and it's impact upon the financial history of Indiana, I've always had a "tin foil hat" suspicion that sinister economic influences based in Indianapolis, (not wanting to be left out of the canal craze) were the main promoters citing a "need" for the W&E to be extended all the way to to the Ohio River.

The W&E extension from Terre Haute over to Worthington and then on south to the Ohio was entirely superfluous in terms of the needs of the W&E, since the Wabash River south of Terre Haute was navigable year round in it's own rite. The only useful purpose this could have served was to provide a connection for the contemplated but never built "Central Canal " that was intended to serve Indy.

Often wondered how the W&E canal operations might have better prospered had they not been burdened by the extra cost of that unneeded extension.

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Re: A trip on the old canal

Postby Steve Bryan » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:23 am

"Often wondered how the W&E canal operations might have better prospered had they not been burdened by the extra cost of that unneeded extension."

The canal was pretty much doomed from the start with the development of a much better technology I.E. the railroad. The Evansville extension, had it not been built, would have saved a lot of debt but most likely not extended the life of the canal. Remember, the Wabash RR was built in the 1850's and in many places was visibly close enough to the canal to be seen. Most freight and all passenger traffic would have used the faster railroad.

I just noticed a couple weeks ago that the cross cut canal can still be seen from IN 59 as well as the W&E from IN 57. One has to look a lot closer to see remnants around here.

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Re: A trip on the old canal

Postby Hotbox » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:05 pm

Steve Bryan wrote:
The canal was pretty much doomed from the start with the development of a much better technology I.E. the railroad. The Evansville extension, had it not been built, would have saved a lot of debt but most likely not extended the life of the canal.


I won't go out of my way to disagree with you there. Eventually the RR's would prevail.

But, much reading I've done about the canal laments how strapped for maintenance funds they were, and especially under the debt burden they were carrying. My thoughts are that without all that debt they might have better taken care of the main asset, and ( thus operating in better shape financially) may have lasted longer. Just a thought.

That said, I vaguely recall that the lenders were already upset with the lack of return even before the south extension was built, and only relented in not calling the debt as part of a plan to build the extension. So I guess it's a catch 22 of sorts


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