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. Touch 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Howell.
Also see . . .
1. Soule's Folly at Kansapedia. (Submitted on May 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Asa Soule Article in The Hutchinson News (2010). (Submitted on May 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Once Upon A Time In America by Tony Storey. (Submitted on May 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Agriculture • Man-Made Features • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 537 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.