The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Community

April 6, 2013

Jim Bailey: Better look round for a job old gal, 296 miles on the Central Canal

If Madison County is looking at water for part of its future, it may be taking a chapter out of its past.

Indiana’s Central Canal project in 1836 was touted as something of a revolution in commercial transportation. Railroads were in their infancy. Horses and wagons could only transport limited loads, and roads were problematic. Waterways were considered the way to go.

And according to historical pieces, among them one by Madison County historian Stephen T. Jackson, Anderson was right in the middle of the planning. The Central Canal was to link central Indiana with other canal systems within and beyond Indiana’s borders. The system was to connect to the Wabash & Erie Canal between Fort Wayne and Logansport, connect Muncie and Anderson with Indianapolis and extend southward to Evansville on the Ohio River. A total of 296 miles was in the planning stages.

The Indiana General Assembly passed the Internal Improvement Act in 1836, and construction began in several locations. In Madison County, private contractors were employed, digging sections of the waterway. The canal measured 40 feet wide at the top and 26 feet wide at the bottom.

Exactly eight miles of the canal eventually became operational. That is primarily in downtown Indianapolis where it still stands today, utilized now for drinking water and recreational purposes.

Sections of the canal still can be found in Madison County by those who know what they are looking for and where to look. According to Jackson, one of the most prominent sections runs several hundred yards east of Indiana 9 north of Anderson, beginning on the south side of 800 North and running south for about three miles to become part of Little Killbuck Creek just above 500 North. Other sections were from Park Place east along the north bank of White River and west of Anderson near where 600 West crosses the river.

So what happened? Much of it was a matter of money. With the panic of 1837 and the depression that followed, funding dried up. The community’s first boom was over. Its growth would later be tied to the gas boom and then the auto industry.

Waterway transportation, other than along major rivers, of course, may be an idea whose time has come and gone. Railroads crisscrossed the country. Then came interstate highways and major truck routes. Now air travel has added a new dimension.

But Madison County now is looking to come full circle. The reservoir proposal has landed like a ton of bricks.

A reservoir provides a different twist on the not-in-my-backyard syndrome. With many folks, a manmade lake is fine in their back yard. The front yard, however, is a different story.

Time will tell if the reservoir becomes a more permanent part of the Madison County scene than did the canal project.

Jim Bailey’s reflections on Anderson’s past appear on Sunday. His regular column appears on Wednesday. He can be reached by email at jameshenrybailey@earthlink.net.

1
Text Only
Community
  • FEA - HB0728 - Fresh Orientation - SH Elwood freshmen learn the ways of high school through mentoring program About half the 112 incoming freshmen at Elwood Jr./Sr. High School got a jump on their friends recently by attending a freshman orientation session. Joan Mercer, an English teacher who helped organize the the orientation, said the mentor program, which has been in place for several years, has been effective in new students make the high school transition.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • FEA-HB0727-MCWinery-JC6.JPG Having a wine time

    Cathy Hensley’s never been much of a drinker. It wasn’t something that interested her very much, so it seemed unfathomable that she would ever run a winery. But after her son Eric offered her and her husband, Duke, some wine he made, it changed things.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lanane among LifeStream honorees Dr. Jon Hendrix and Katie Lucas, both of Muncie; Janet Privett, Montezuma, Ohio, and Sen. Tim Lanane (D), Anderson, will be honored during a reception Aug. 7 in Muncie for their work in making a difference in the lives of aging adults and people with disabilities.

    July 26, 2014

  • Community Briefs: July 27 A compilation of community news items as published in the Sunday edition of The Herald Bulletin.

    July 26, 2014

  • FEA HB0727 Homes 0113 Storage solution The key to creating a beautiful home on a budget is to look beyond the intended purpose of an item, and beyond its appearance. Instead, check for sturdiness of the frame, and the functionality of the components.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • What's Where: July 27-Aug. 2 Local meetings and activities are scheduled this week.

    July 26, 2014

  • Help available locally to navigate health care options If you feel like you’re drowning in the shifting sea of health care options, don’t panic: SHIP, a local Navigator and Life Stream are ready to help.

    July 26, 2014

  • FEA HB0727 Camp Chesterfield Spiritualists' home Camp Chesterfield is one of 10 spiritualist camps in the United States, and the only one of its kind in Indiana. Founded in the late 1800s, It's home to the Indiana Association of Spiritualists and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Back in the News: July 27 The Herald Bulletin looks back at stories from the Anderson Daily Bulletin and The Anderson Herald newspapers.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jim Bailey: Traveling by passenger train was a page from the past My wife doesn’t remember riding on a full-fledged passenger train as a baby. Our children have never ridden. It’s an experience rapidly going the way of the horse and buggy and the stagecoach throughout a nation now obsessed with jumbo jets and sport-utility vehicles.

    July 26, 2014

Reader Pet Photos


We're looking for your best pet photos! Share your photos of your favorite non-human companions in our new photo gallery. Click here to upload your photos

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin