Near Howell in Ford County, Kansas — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Local men, boys, and animals sweated long and hard to build the Eureka Irrigation Canal between 1884 and 1887. The long line below the ridge is a remnant of this early effort to irrigate semi-arid lands using the only reliable water source then available: the Arkansas River. Financed by speculator Asa T. Soule, the canal snaked its way over 90 miles from Ingalls to near Spearville, providing water to farmers in between.
Plagued with problems, the canal was soon seen as a failure. Breaks in the canal wall, seepage, flash floods that destroyed a dam, a low river level from irrigation upstream, and drought led to its abandonment. People began calling it "Soule's Folly" and "Soule's Elephant." Attempts were made to revitalize the canal with pumps, but too much water was lost from seepage and evaporation, resulting in its final abandonment in 1921.
[Background photo caption reads] Remnants of the Soule Canal wind snakelike across the Kansas plains.
Erected by Boot Hill Museum, Inc.
Location. 37° 47.462′ N, 100° 11.775′ W. Marker is near Howell, Kansas, in Ford County. Click for map. Trail Ruts Park is on the right while traveling west of US Hwy 50/400, about ½ mile west of Howell
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Santa Fe Trail Remains (here, next to this marker); The Worst Piece of Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Trails on the Prairie (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Santa Fe Trail Sites to the West & South (about 500 feet away); A Fine Country... (about 500 feet away); Santa Fe Trail, 1821 - 1880 (about 500 feet away); Santa Fe Trail Sites to the East (about 500 feet away); Campsite of the U.S. Survey Team Sept. 10-21, 1825 (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Howell.
Also see . . .
1. Soule's Folly at Kansapedia. (Submitted on May 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
2. Asa Soule Article in The Hutchinson News (2010). (Submitted on May 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
3. Once Upon A Time In America by Tony Storey. (Submitted on May 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas.)
Categories. • Agriculture • Man-Made Features • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 455 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.