Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

About Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Early canals were hand-dug waterways meant to bring goods and people inland. They were located near rivers and natural waterways which provided the necessary water. Draft animals pulled long, narrow boats by a rope next to the canal on a towpath. Although canal travel was painfully slow, this method was much better than wagons for large, heavy loads. The Whitewater Canal started in Lawrenceburg and originally ended at Cambridge City, on the Old National Road. Hagerstown merchants financed an extension to their town, making the canal 76 miles in length. The state of Ohio also built a 25-mile spur linking Cincinnati to the canal. Along the canal, 56 locks accommodate a fall of nearly 500 feet. After the canal transportation era ended with arrival of the railroads, the canal was used as a source of water power for many grist mills. The State of Indiana assumed management of a 14-mile section of the Whitewater Canal in 1946. Visitors can take a leisurely 25-minute cruise on the Ben Franklin III. During the cruise, they pass the Duck Creek Aqueduct, a covered bridge that carries the canal 16 feet over Duck Creek. It is believed to be the only structure of its kind in the nation.