Wabash and Erie Canals collection
Scope and Contents
There is also a map of Wabash and Erie canals created around 1936 (OBC114).
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Economically, the canal was not a success. The Panic of 1837 caused a depression in 1839 that led to workers' strikes and statewide debt. Expensive canal projects began to slow or die and public sentiment began to turn away from them. In 1846 Charles Butler, representing the canal bondholders, proposed that the state turn responsibility of the canal over to the bondholders in exchange for bondholders assuming half the debt and the land granted for construction. Butler also proposed that the state issue new bonds at 4 percent yearly interest for the other half of the debt, with an option for the state to redeem the certificates at its discretion. This ended state control of the canal and put the Wabash and Erie Canal in the hands of private trustees by 1847.
The most successful years for the canal were between 1847–1856. Its peak year was 1852 when tolls reached $193,400. Eventually, cheaper, faster, and more convenient trains made the canal obsolete. Portions south of Terre Haute were closed by 1860; the decline continued until 1876 when the canal was officially auctioned off by the trustees and closed.
Schmidt, Carolyn I. Wabash and Erie Canal: Canal Society of Indiana, March 27–29, 1998. Vincennes, IN: The Final Link. Fort Wayne, IN: Canal Society of Indiana, 1998.
Schmidt, Robert and Carolyn. Canal Society of Indiana (website). www.indcanal.org
0.07 Cubic Feet (1 folder, 1 large oversize folder)
Language of Materials
- Wabash and Erie Canals collection
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description