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The Central Canal

Transcribed from Hamilton County Indiana

by John F. Haines, 1915

     About the year 1825 many of the states were building canals.  These various artificial water ways were proposed so that in time there should be direct connection by water with the Erie canal in New York.  The success of the Erie canal and the consequent growth of the western territory in connection with it, stimulated the desire for a great system of canals in the states farther west, including Indiana.  As a part of the general system many canals were proposed and much money expended thereon.  Some legislation passed congress relative to Indiana canals in 1827.  The canal which directly affected Hamilton County was called the Central Canal.  This canal was to open up Central Indiana and was to be run from Wabash via Anderson and Indianapolis to Evansville.  It was begun in 1837 and a great deal of work and vast sums of money were expended on it, but though the survey passed through Hamilton County, running across the county from northeast to southwest, very little, if any digging was done here.  (evidence of digging is in the neighborhood,The Meadows off of SR 37 & 196th Street)  The canal was completed only to Broad Ripple, north of Indianapolis and only sixteen miles south of Hamilton County's capital city.  By order of the legislature, the canal was later sold to some New York people and is now the property of the Indianapolis Water Company.

     Thus ended in failure the grand canal project.  Many people in Hamilton County invested heavily in the canal scheme, and instead of becoming vastly wealthy, as they had hoped, lost their whole fortunes.  Some investors eventually recovered from their loses but many were not so fortunate, and losing all they possessed lived the remainder of their lives in discomfort and died poor men.  

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