Find A Way: The Indiana Central Canal


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - Indianapolis is unique in the fact that ZERO major waterways are connected to the city. The White River, which cuts across the city diagonally, wasn't deep enough for steamboats to easily pass through, making major transportation on the river nearly impossible.

During the 1830's the easiest and most efficient way to travel was by water. Southern Indiana benefitted from the Ohio River, while the upper central and western part of the state were able to utilize the Wabash River.

However, Indianapolis, like many other cities in the state, wanted to find the easiest ways to connect with each other. There were no railroads, no interstate, and the state made a commitment to connectivity through the construction of canals.

The Indiana Central Canal was intended to connect Indianapolis and other mid-central Indiana cities with the Wabash and Erie Canal (pictured above on the map). The project ended up being too expensive and only 8 miles were completed, stretching from Broad Ripple to Downtown Indianapolis.

The state was determined to connect it's cities with each other, and better connect other cities across the country, even today Indiana is known as "The Crossroads of the America". Once the canal project went bankrupt, the state kept looking for ways to enhance transportation; the train tracks and interstate ended up playing a major role in the covering of the canal.

When I-65/I-70 were built, a portion of the completed canal was forced to run underground. The canal isn't visible from around 10th street to 21st street, which causes some people to believe that the canal in Broad Ripple is separate from the one we see in Downtown Indianapolis.

Although the project was never completed, I love how the state of Indiana was constantly looking for ways to innovate and connect with one another. It wasn't until 1996 that the downtown portion of the canal was restored to look how it does today.

Maybe we as a society could take a page out of Indy's historic playbook and begin looking for ways to connect, rather than ways to become isolated. The strength of any great state, country and even planet are the ways in which we can all come together.

No matter where someone may be at in their life, I promise you, if you work at it, you can FIND A WAY to connect.


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