Education

History of Sweet Breeze and Fort Wayne Canals

The Wabash and Erie Canal was a shipping canal that linked the Great Lakes to the Ohio River via an artificial (man- made) waterway. The canal provided traders with access from the Great Lakes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Over 468 miles long, it was the longest canal ever built in North America.

The canal, known as the Wabash & Erie in the 1850s and thereafter, was actually a combination of four canals: The Miami and Erie Canal (from the Maumee River near Toledo, Ohio to Junction, Ohio); the original Wabash and Erie

Canal (the Fort Wayne canal-from Junction to Terre Haute, Indiana); the Cross Cut Canal (from Terre Haute, Indiana to Worthington, Indiana-Point Commerce); and the Central Canal (from Worthington to Evansville, Indiana).

The canal began operation in the summer of 1843, yet only operated for a decade before it became apparent that it was not economicially viable. Even when canal boats were operated at extremely slow speeds, the banks rapidly eroded, and the canal had to be constantly dredged to be operable. The last canalboat on the Wabash Canal made its last docking in 1874 in Huntington, Indiana. Sweet Breeze recreates the mystery and excitement of what was to be a new era of commerce and travel in the midwest.

 

 

Sweet Breeze

Welcome to the Riverfront! Three rivers converge in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne and, we, in Northeast Indiana have gathered here for centuries. Experience the legacy and explore our natural river wonder on Sweet Breeze. And, enjoy our community’s new momentum!

Travel Fort Wayne Rivers on Sweet Breeze. This is not a boat ride, it’s an experience! Both 45 and 90 minute tours are available to entertain riders with colorful river lore stories, Fort Wayne history, and muddy water tales as you cruise the rivers. You’ll leave your voyage knowing more about Fort Wayne’s heritage, and our river system. Ticket prices range from $5 – $30. All rides depart from Headwaters East for the 2018 season.