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Formation of the Canal Society

Mission Statement

Organized on May 22, 1982 as a not-for-profit corporation, the Canal Society of Indiana was established to bring together those who share a common interest in Indiana’s historic canals.  The Society helps focus attention on these early interstate waterways through a variety of programs.  Its aim is to provide the interpretation of an era, to preserve canal bed and structural remains, and to support restoration of historic canal related sites.

The Kerr Lock- one of the few cut stone locks on the Wabash & Erie Canal.
The Kerr Lock- one of the few cut stone locks on the Wabash & Erie Canal.

Members of the Society explore the remains of canals to learn about the past.  Sometimes an old canal follows a scenic river and is easy to locate.  More often the canal seems to disappear as it winds its way through the countryside challenging the true explorer.

Each year the Society conducts spring and fall tours to expand its members knowledge of the Hoosier canal system.  The tour weekends feature speakers, videos, and music related to this colorful era.  The Society offers a wide variety of related cultural activities such as tours of home & buildings and craft demonstrations.

As a member of the Canal Society of Indiana, you will receive our bi-monthly newsletter, The Tumble, which includes articles on canal history, reprints of original documents, and reports about technical aspects of canaling. It will keep you informed about current canal related events, our tours, and the latest offering of books, pamphlets, maps and videos. It provides members an opportunity to share their research with others.

The Central Canal in downtown Indianapolis.
The Central Canal in downtown Indianapolis.

The Canal Society does more than study the past.  Our members participate in current canal projects and related issues. We are working with government agencies in corridor studies of both the Wabash and Maumee Rivers.  The objective of these state and federal programs is to define the potential for trail and linear park development. We also actively support local groups which work to achieve canal preservation and restoration.