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

Canal Bridges

Crossing the Canal in Carroll County, Indiana

— Wabash & Erie Canal Park Village —

Canal Bridges Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 18, 2020
1. Canal Bridges Marker
A Variety of Bridges Solve Many Problems
When the Wabash & Erie Canal cut through an Indiana wilderness, its 40 feet wide channel of water created challenges for those who wished to cross from one side to the other. Pedestrians, horse-drawn wagons, boat-towing animals, farmers and their livestock found the Canal's waters often obstructed their path. During the Canal Era beginning in 1840 here in Carroll County, Indiana, a variety of bridges erected were typical of the various types found on the 468 mile long Wabash & Erie Canal.

1. Small Pivot Bridge at Deer Creek Guard Lock
There is no official record of such a bridge at this site, however, archaeologists have suggested that future surveys may uncover such evidence,

2. Towing Path Bridge at Deer Creek Dam Spillway
In 1874 the last boat traveling north from Lafayette approached the Deer Creek Dam. The aging wooden structure could no longer endure the load and as the team of mules crossed the rotting footboards, the towpath bridge and crib dam gave way. Both the driver and the team were swept away and drowned.


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Pivot Bridge at Franklin Street

In 1849, after local citizens complained about the condition of the road bridge at Franklin Street, officials approved a new pivot or turn bridge as a replacement. At its dedication, Alice V. Jackson, daughter of the sheriff and later the wife Edwin B. Armitage, was chosen to draw the bridge to pass through the first canal packet.

4. Road Bridge at Washington Street
At the time of the Canal's opening in Delphi this site was spanned with an arched heavy timbered structure. There was space on the towpath side for mules to continue plodding along without posts impeding their progress. However, its long span made it impractical for supporting heavy loads.: It has been replaced by a beautiful stone bridge that crosses Washington Street over the Canal while The Delphi packet passes below.

5. Road Bridge at Founders' Point
"Road Bridge, No. 47, crossing the canal where it occupies the Delphi bayou. This bridge is three times the common length."Because of a naturally occurring wide bayou through which the Canal passed, the bridge's long span may have required a support pier set at a point in the Canal bed. This location is named "Founders' Point" to celebrate those who first conceived the idea for Canal Park.

6. Change Bridge at Paragon on Lake Wabash
"Just below

Canal Bridges Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 18, 2020
2. Canal Bridges Marker
the guard lock is Road Bridge, No. 46, used also for changing the towing path from the north to the south side of the canal." It is not certain which type of bridge was built at Paragon. One method of moving from one side to the other - without unhitching the towing animals - was to pass the towpath over a canal on a bridge before completing a circular course and returning underneath the overhead bridge just crossed. Towpaths were moved from one side of the canal to the other because builders preferred to locate the towpath on the side facing a river.

7. Carrollton Towing Path Bridge across the Wabash River
Five miles below this covered bridge, the Wabash River was dammed to create a slackwater or lake. First built in 1844, this bridge was the Canal's only main line crossing of the Wabash. Designed with five fixed spans, a draw timber section was added which could be lifted away for passing river steamboats. An outside tramway beside the inner deck contained a mule- powered tram on tracks, which carried the towing lines across the river. A low railing, allowed the towrope to draw the boat to cross Lake Wabash.

8. Burnett's Creek Arch Repurposed as a Road Bridge
An arch or a culvert is used to span an opening as well as support weight from above. Primarily built to allow the Canal to cross high over an important stream,

Canal Bridges Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 18, 2020
3. Canal Bridges Marker
this arch is perhaps the most significant relic now standing on the once famous waterway. Once Canal navigation closed, this unique stone structure was converted for use as a road vehicle bridge on Towpath Road. Only slightly altered and repaired, the arch stands as it did when first built during the 1839-1840 building season.

* Jesse Lynch Williams, "1847 Report of the Chief Engineer Description of the Condition of Canal at the Commencement of the Trust, to the Board of Trustees," Documentary Journal.

Pedestrian Bridges
Although there is no record of a pedestrian bridge in Carroll County some communities provided them for foot traffic.
Erected by Barry Nichols.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Wabash & Erie Canal series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1840.
Location. 40° 35.5′ N, 86° 40.8′ W. Marker is in Delphi, Indiana, in Carroll County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West North Washington Street and North Charles Street, on the right when traveling east. On the Grounds of the Wabash & Erie Canal Conference & Interpretive Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12252 West North Washington Street, Delphi IN 46923, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers.

Canal Bridges Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, July 18, 2020
4. Canal Bridges Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Canal Village (a few steps from this marker); Cabin Homestead 1830s (within shouting distance of this marker); The Paper Maker's Shop (within shouting distance of this marker); Fouts Kitchen And Medical Plants Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); Education Along The Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cooper (within shouting distance of this marker); Broom Maker (within shouting distance of this marker); The Broom Making Process (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Delphi.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 25, 2020, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 156 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 25, 2020, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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May. 21, 2024