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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Elkhart in Elkhart County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Rivers for Industry

Our Rivers’ Story

 
 
The Rivers for Industry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 18, 2012
1. The Rivers for Industry Marker
Inscription.

The Hydraulics
Elkhart's early development as an industrial city can be attributed to its proximity to several waterways. Before the advent of electric power, the early industry pioneers harnessed the power of the river flow to provide the energy to their machinery. By using a system called "Hydraulics" the mills would open gates to the headrace allowing water to flow into penstocks which housed turbines.. The turbine's fins were opened allowing water to pass through the fins to an opening below the turbine. The flow of the escaping water caused the fins to turn the turbine shaft which produced the power. The water then emptied into a tailrace which flowed downstream back into the St. Joseph River.
To the right is an illustration of one of Elkhart's major hydraulic industrial sites, the Elkhart Hydraulics. This site, which is unrecognizable today, encompassed the present day sites of Lundquist-Bicentennial Park and Easy Shopping Place (see inset map). Established in 1866 with the damming of the St. Joseph River, the Elkhart Hydraulic Company excavated several raceways south of the river. Soon several manufacturing companies sprouted up, producing paper, starch, knitted products, and one notable musical instrument company, C.G. Conn.
Unfortunately, the hydraulics were prone to flooding and
The Site of the Elkhart Hydraulics image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 18, 2012
2. The Site of the Elkhart Hydraulics
Close-up of illustration on marker
as was common in those days, the wooden structures were virtually destroyed by fire. In 1907 the hydraulics were purchased by the Indiana & Michigan Electric Company. They soon reconstructed the dam with concrete and began producing another source of power, electricity.
To this day, the Hydro Electric Plant continues to produce electricity from the river's powerful waterflow.

(Illustration with inset map)
The Site of the Elkhart Hydraulics

 
Location. 41° 41.442′ N, 85° 58.184′ W. Marker is in Elkhart, Indiana, in Elkhart County. Marker can be reached from Pacific Street 0.1 miles west of N. Elkhart Boulevard, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is located at Lundquist Bicentennial Park at the entrance of the southern pedestrian bridge to Island Park. Marker is in this post office area: Elkhart IN 46514, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Rivers and the Native Americans (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Rivers for Recreation (about 400 feet away); Island Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); C.G. Conn Company (approx. 0.2 miles away); Village of Pulaski
Lundquist Bicentennial Park image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 25, 2013
3. Lundquist Bicentennial Park
Marker is at entrance of pedestrian bridge to Island Park
(approx. 0.2 miles away); Ruthmere (approx. mile away); Elkhart River Wharves (approx. mile away); Development of Diagnostic Test Strips (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Elkhart.
 
More about this marker. As stated on the marker, the markers for Our Rivers' Story were designed and written by James Faigh, J. Faigh Design, Elkhart, IN.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
South Entrance to Island Park image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, November 18, 2012
4. South Entrance to Island Park
St. Joseph River image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, October 25, 2013
5. St. Joseph River
East of the Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 281 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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