This is a part of an 1876 map of our neighborhood. The original map covers the entire city of Fort Wayne — which at that time was a small fraction of its size today.
Notice the Wabash & Erie Canal cut right through our neighborhood, and almost went through our backyard.
The whole canal operated for only about a decade, a victim of being built too close to the coming of the locomotive age. Plus, the walls of the canal were constantly falling in.
And then there was the Reservoir War. About 200 residents of Paulding County, Ohio, attacked and drained a reservoir feeding the canal, saying the only thing they ever got from it was mosquito bites and “ague” — what we now call malaria.
The people of the Midwest were only too eager to bury this antiquated mode of transportation. At that time, they would never have guessed that anyone would be interested in preserving any part of it.
UPDATE: In fact, this map is dated 1876, but the last official canal boat made its docking in 1874. In 1876, the canal land was auctioned off, and the railroad gobbled up the land through Fort Wayne.
So, there is little to no physical evidence that a canal went through my neighborhood 150 years ago.
To help myself figure out where the canal existed compared to current landmarks, I created this Google map. I took the information from the old Fort Wayne city map referenced above and drew vectors across a Google map of Fort Wayne.
This is still a work in progress. I hope to add more details and even photos to the map as time permits.