On February 19, 1971, the first local meeting concerning the improvement and preservation of the Wabash & Erie Canal in Carroll County was held at the Thomas McCain residence near the current Canal Park Annex. In 1972, the Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal, Inc. was formed to preserve the Canal in Carroll County and honor the significance of the Canal Era in Indiana's history. The founding members recognized the importance of preserving this section as the only accessible portion of the Wabash & Erie Canal which still had water in it.
Founding Meeting--February 19, 1971
Chamber of Commerce Dinner--September 1972
Incorporation and Charter Members—February 26, 1973
Canal Park Property
Canal Park was made possible through the generosity and foresight of Peters-Revington. Inc., who donated the land adjacent to the Canal.
The Martin Property
When private property west of the Reed Case House became available for purchase in 1993, the Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal, Inc. bought the property to enlarge the Park and obtain the towpath for trail expansion. During the 1997 annual Earth Day observance, the trail through the property, from the Wabash & Erie Canal Park to the railroad was created by a group of Work Day volunteers.
Peters-Revington Access Road
The 1996 construction crew, headed by Bill Draper, carved out and topped with beautiful Delphi limestone, an access road encircling the parking areas in Canal Park, changing the official entrance in time for the 1996 Fourth of July celebration. The road diverts vehicular traffic from the Canal towpath, which serves as a pedestrian trail. The road is now paved and leads to an ample parking area.
Canal Park Annex
Delphi Limestone Company and its parent company, US Aggregates, donated land which was dedicated in October of 1994 as Canal Park Annex. This secluded acreage at the end of Packet Avenue is a natural for picnics and quiet walks. Visible from the Annex is the Canal, the old belt railway bed and the restored Paint Creek Bridge. Delphi Rotary Club members built an attractive shelter house at the Annex. The Annex is the location of the warehouse for storing the canal boat “Delphi.”
Water in the Canal!
The existing portion of the Wabash & Erie Canal in Delphi is approximately two and a half miles long. It is the longest and only water-filled portion of the Wabash & Erie Canal which is publicly accessible in Indiana. Nearly bisecting its length is the 1904 stone bridge that allows North Washington Street passage over the canal bed. While canal boats never navigated beneath it, it did provide a unique challenge when the Reed Case House carefully traversed it in 1986.
In 1951, a flood control levee was built to protect the northwest section of Delphi, and the canal bed above it was returned to cultivation. With limited water supplied to the remaining canal bed, it became weed-clogged, neglected and abandoned. In 1995, through an agreement among Delphi Limestone Company, the City of Delphi and Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal, Inc., Delphi Limestone agreed to construct the means needed to divert and release one million gallons of water per day into the upper end of the Canal to the City of Delphi. The water, drained from the company’s quarries, previously had gone directly into the Wabash River. Now it still enters the river as it leaves the Canal.
Twenty-five years after the founding of the Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal, Inc., at 11:15 a.m. on Monday, March 10, 1997, Bill Draper, Ed Gruber and crew witnessed the first of the millions of gallons of water diverted by Delphi Limestone into the Canal.
On February 19, 1971, the Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal, Inc. founders had a vision for reclaiming, restoring, preserving and protecting Wabash & Erie Canal sites and artifacts, and educating those unaware of the profound impact the Canal Era had on populating and developing this section of the United States.
In their honor, the area at the north end of the Canal next to the "tumble", where the water cascades into the Canal from the stone quarry, has been christened Founders Point.