Wabash and Erie Canal is a waterway, stretching up to 468 miles from Toledo, Ohio to Evansville, Indiana. The canal was instrumental in the growth of the State of Indiana. The main goal behind the construction of the canal was to link the navigable water of the Maumee River with the Wabash through the seven mile portage at Fort Wayne. When fully completed, the canal was truly an engineering marvel with 18 major aqueducts. People built towns in the place where there had once been swamp, forests and tall grass prairie.
In 1827, the Congress provided a land grant to build the canal. Accordingly, on February 22, 1832, on the 100th anniversary of George Washington's birthday, the ground was broken for the canal, which would link Lake Erle at Toledo with the Ohio River at Evansville. That date was chosen because George Washington was credited with the suggestion of a canal trough this region. The first section of the canal, connecting Fort Wayne with Huntington, was completed in 1835.
On realizing that the Wabash was not navigable above Lafayette, the canal was extended west, reaching the Tippecanoe River, in 1839. It reached Logansport in 1838 and Delphi in 1840. Later, it was discovered that the Maumee River did not provide a reliable route east of Fort Wayne. As a result, construction began on the east in 1842 and in 1844, the link between Fort Wayne and the Ohio Canal was completed.
In the late 1840s, the canal was extended south through the Cross-Cut Canal works to Worthington. Through a second federal land grant, the canal reached Terre Haute in 1849. In 1853, the Evansville segment was completed, providing easy and rapid travel for incoming settlers and a convenient way for moving their agricultural and other products.
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