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Driving the Canals and Rivers Auto Trail

A Southeastern Indiana Road Trip

Exploring Indiana's Highways and Back Roads Series – Book 2

Paul R. Wonning









Description

Take a wonderful road trip through southeastern Indiana by driving the Canals and Rivers Auto Trail. This delightful auto trail tours through the heart of Franklin and Dearborn Counties. Explore the historic sites of Metamora, Brookville, Lawrenceburg and Aurora, Indiana. Visit the Whitewater Canal State Historic site, then drive along the Whitewater and Ohio Rivers. Tour historic Hillforest Mansion in Aurora, and then return to Metamora through the scenic southeastern Indiana countryside.















Driving the Canals and River Auto Trail

Published Paul R. Wonning

Copyright 2016 by Paul R. Wonning

Smashwords Edition



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Driving the Canals and River Auto Trail

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Paul R. Wonning

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Table of Contents

Introduction

Driving the Canals and River Trail

Franklin County

Metamora

Metamora Grist Mill

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Whitewater Valley Railroad

Whitewater Canal Trail

Whitewater River

Banes House

Dr. Thomas Conner House

Duck Creek Aqueduct

Farmer’s Bank

Jackson Meat Market

Jenks & Martindale Grocery

Martindale Hotel

Blacksmith Shop and Cottage

Canal Front Dry Good Store

Confectionary

Old Cobbler’s Shop/Post Office

Van Camp’s Store

Methodist Episcopal Church

Old Faulkner-Pierce Drug Store

Brookville, Indiana

Brookville Historical Markers

Dearborn County

Saint Leon, Indiana

Lobenstein’s Farm

Dover, Indiana

Dearborn Historical Marker St. John The Baptist Church

Dearborn County Historical Marker - General John Morgan

Guilford, Indiana

Dearborn Historical Marker — Guilford Covered Bridge

Dearborn Historical Marker East Fork Stone Chapel

Lawrenceburg, Indiana

Dearborn County Historical Society - Vance-Tousey House

Aurora, Indiana

Hillforest Historic Mansion

Highways

Indiana County – Back Road Numbering System

About the Author

Mossy Feet Books Catalogue

Sample Chapter 1

The Hawaiian Chronicles – Our Hawaiian Adventures

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Driving the Canals and River Trail

Paul R. Wonning

Franklin, Dearborn Counties

The Canals and River Trail begins in Metamora, Indiana in Franklin County. From Metamora it follows the course of the Whitewater River and Canal along Indiana State Road 1, visiting the communities of Metamora, Brookville, Lawrenceburg and Aurora when it reaches its destination on the Ohio River and US 50. Turn right on US Route 50 to visit interesting places in Lawrenceburg and Aurora. The trail is about forty miles long with a drive time of forty minutes, with no stops. However, the traveler will find multitudes of places to stop on this interesting trail. Some attractions include:

Metamora

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Whitewater Valley Railroad

Whitewater Canal Trail

Mound Haven

Brookville

St. Leon

Dover

Beiersdorfer Orchard

Guilford

Guilford Covered Bridge

Greendale

Lawrenceburg

Aurora

Hillforest Victorian House Museum

Return the way you came, or for a scenic drive back, drive west on US 50 to Indiana State Road 148

Indiana State Road 148 RT

Indiana State Road 48, LT

Indiana State Road 101, RT

Sunman

Indiana State Road 46, RT

Lawrenceville

Indiana State Road 1, LT

Return to Metamora

Indiana State Road 48

Indiana State Route 101

Indiana State Road 148

Indiana State Road 101

Indiana State Road 46

US 50

US 52

For more information and a guidebook, contact:

by Hoosier Hands in Southeast Indiana

Map

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Franklin County

Founded - 1811

Named for Benjamin Franklin

Seat - Brookville

Area 391 sq mi

Population - (2000) - 22,151

Geography

Franklin County adjoins Union and Fayette counties on the north, Rush to the northwest, Decatur to the west, Ripley to the southwest, Dearborn County. to the south and the state of Ohio to the east.

History

Franklin County abounds in history. It was one of the earliest counties formed, settlement having begun as early as 1797. The Indiana Territorial Legislature created the county on January 11, 1811, naming it for founding father Benjamin Franklin. The oldest church still standing on its original site in Indiana is in Franklin County, the Little Cedar Grove Baptist Church. It is open to the public as a historic site. The first meeting occurred in it on August 1, 1805. The church features a large balcony and rifle ports.

Franklin County also contains the last working vestige of the Whitewater Canal, which was constructed between 1836 and 1842. This canal was 76 miles long and connected Hagerstown, Indiana with Lawrenceburg Indiana. Both the State of Indiana and the Whitewater Valley Railroad near and in Metamora, Indiana maintain a section.

Transportation

Interstate 74 touches the southwest corner on its way from Cincinnati, Ohio to Indianapolis Indiana. Indiana State Road 46 parallels the Interstate as it wends its way from West Harrison, Indiana to Columbus Indiana. US 52 bisects Franklin County diagonally from southeast to northwest as it passes from Cincinnati Ohio to Indianapolis, Indiana. Indiana State Road 101 connects Interstate 74 with Interstate 70 to the north. Indiana State Road 229 passes between Batesville and Metamora, and very roughly traces the route of the old Napoleon/Brookville road constructed in the mid 19th Century.

Ben Franklin (January 17, 1706 - April 17, 1790)

The son of soap and candle maker, Josiah Franklin and his second wife Abiah Folger, Benjamin entered life on Milk Street in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the tenth of seventeen children born to Josiah and one of ten borne by Abiah.

Early Education

Josiah had wanted Benjamin to become a minister. He sent the boy to Boston Latin School, but Josiah's limited funds for education ran out and he had to withdraw Benjamin after only one year. He could afford only one more year with a private teacher, but at age ten Benjamin's formal schooling ended. The boy had a voracious appetite for books, so he continued his education by reading when not helping his father in his candle and soap making business. During these years, Benjamin began reading a weekly British periodical called The Spectator. He used the magazine as a means of improving his writing skills, something he greatly desired. He read and re-read each issue many times, even copying the articles to impress upon himself the writing skills the writers employed.

Apprenticed as a Printer

Benjamin's brother James began publishing a newspaper, the New-England Courant, in 1721. James apprenticed the fifteen-year-old Benjamin in the print shop, setting type. During the time he served as apprentice, Benjamin learned the printing trade. By combining his well toned writing skills and printing, Benjamin later forged the printing and publishing businesses that would enrich him and set the stage for his later achievements.

Franklin - American Sage

Franklin went on to a career that included scientist, writer, printer and politician. In the process, he became an American legend and the most beloved of the founding fathers of the United States.

The towns of Franklin County include Oldenburg, Cedar Grove, Brookville, Metamora, Laurel, and Blooming Grove.

For More Information About Lodging, Dining, Golf And Other Activities In Franklin County, Contact:

Franklin County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission

P.O. Box 97

Brookville, IN 47012

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Metamora

County - Franklin

Area - 0.3 sq mi

Elevation - 718 ft

Population (2010) - 188

ZIP code - 47030

Brief History

Greenville Treaty and the Twelve-Mile Purchase

General Anthony Wayne defeated a consortium of Amerindian tribes at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in northern Ohio. The Greenville Treaty signed in 1795 established new boundaries between the Amerindian tribes and the encroaching whites. The treaty opened up a large area for settlement in the future states of southern Ohio and southeastern Indiana. Settlers purchased a twelve-mile wide strip of land parallel to the Greenville Treaty line in 1809 from the local Amerindian tribes. This strip became known as the Twelve-mile purchase. It included the area that includes the present town of Metamora.

Platting Metamora

Platted on March 20, 1838 by David Mount and William Holland, the town derives its name from a play written by American actor and playwright John Augustus Stone (1801 - 1834). His play, Metamora; or, The Last of the Wampanoags, first performed on December 15, 1829, in New York City. A local woman, Mrs. John Watson, chose the name. The play became successful and soon became popular throughout the United States. Surveyors had already determined the course of the Whitewater Canal and the enterprising men planned their town near the site of the canal. The original plat contained forty-two lots, with the canal running directly down Main Street, an intentional location chosen by Mount and Holland. Two other local towns, Cedar Grove and Laurel, owe their existence to the Whitewater Canal.

David Mount February 3, 1778 - May 18, 1850)

The son of William Mount and Rebekah Cox, David was native to Pennington, New Jersey. He married Rhoda Hunt, with whom he would have two children. He is interred in Metamora Cemetery. Mount migrated to Franklin County in 1811, settling along the Whitewater River. Mount would serve as an associate judge, gain election to the state legislature and serve on the commission that drafted Indiana's Constitution. He built a gristmill along the Whitewater River, near the site of the town he would found. The completed canal would deprive his mill of its water source. The mill fell into disuse and no longer exists.

The Whitewater Canal

The author has included a more comprehensive history of the canal later in this volume. Workers completed the canal to Brookville, with the arrival of the first boat from Lawrenceburg on June 8, 1839.

Demise and the Survival of Metamora

The Canal lasted until 1860, when railroad competition and the cost of maintenance of the canal caused its demise. The lock system at Metamora proved useful after the canal's demise by providing a dependable source of waterpower for a series gristmills, needed for farmers to convert their grain crops from corn or wheat to corn meal and flour. The current gristmill is the only one of these mills to survive.

Metamora Today

Metamora offers an eclectic mix of shopping, dining, lodging and history within the confines of a historic small town. Visitors will find a delightful mix of craft, artist and other types of shops lining its streets. Several bed and breakfasts, restaurants and cafes also make their home in Metamora. The scenic Whitewater Valley Railroad ends here, completing its journey down the scenic Whitewater River valley from Connersville. The State of Indiana operates the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site, which includes an operating canal boat on which visitors may ride alongside the railroad tracks. An operating gristmill using the power of the Whitewater River grinds corn meal and offers it for sale.

For more information about Metamora visit:

Metamora, Indiana Visitors Information

P.O. Box 117

Metamora, IN 47030

mail@metamoraindiana.com



Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

19083 Clayborne St.

Metamora, In 47030, Usa

765-647-6512



Whitewater Valley Railroad

455 Market St,

Connersville, IN 47331

(765) 825-2054

Whitewater Canal Trail

Salt Creek Horse Ranch

Whitewater River

Metamora Historical Markers – Indiana Historical Bureau

Whitewater Canal

Metamora Historical Markers

Banes House

Blacksmith Shop and Cottage

Canal Front Dry Good Store

Confectionary

Dr. Thomas Carter House

Duck Creek Aqueduct

Farmer’s Bank

Gordon Double Residence

Jackson Meat Market

Jenks & Martindale Grocery

Martindale Hotel

Metamora Grist Mill

Metamora Masonic Lodge

Methodist Episcopal Church

Odd Fellows Hall

Old Cobbler’s Shop/Old Post Office

Old Faulkner-Pierce Drug Store

Van Camp’s Store

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Franklin County Historical Marker - Metamora Grist Mill

Inscription

In 1845, Jonathan Banes built a three-story frame cotton mill, known as Metamora Cotton Factory, on this site. Banes, a former contractor on the canal, converted the cotton factory to a flouring mill in 1856, and sold the mill to John Curry in 1857.

Over the next several years, the mill was operated by various owners and was known first as Hoosier Mills and later as Crescent Mills. The original mill was destroyed by a fire in 1899 and was rebuilt in 1900. Following a second fire in 1932, it was converted to the present two-story brick building.

Purchased by the State of Indiana

In 1946, the State of Indiana purchased a 14-mile section of the Whitewater Canal, including the mill, as a state historic site. Today the mill grinds both white and yellow corn into corn meal and grits, and wheat into whole-wheat flour and cereal. The millstones are powered by the 12-foot breast water wheel in the canal behind the mill.

Brief History by the Author

Jonathan Banes (February 12, 1817 - April 13, 1906)

The son of Jonathan and Anna (Gillingham) Banes, Jonathan was native to Buck's County, Pennsylvania. He apprenticed to a carpenter in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania after leaving home at age sixteen. After completing his apprenticeship, he worked in Philadelphia for a time, then migrated to Brookville in 1837 when he heard the news of the construction of the Whitewater Canal. He gained employment doing construction on the canal project, becoming the supervisor of many of the structures on the canal. These projects included the Brookville dam, several of the locks and bridges on the canal. Banes Married Maria Mount Banes, the daughter of Judge David Mount, on September 5, 1841. The couple would have two sons, William Mount and Mary. The state suspended work on the canal in the fall of 1839. Banes did not receive payment until spring, 1840. He took the funds, purchased some horses and drove them to Pennsylvania to sell. After completing the sale, he returned to Brookville. He moved to Metamora open the Metamora Cotton Factory in 1845. He built his home in Metamora the same year he built the mill. The house, the Banes Home, houses a gift shop and the "Banes Suite for Two," which visitors may rent during a stay in Metamora. Banes would convert the cotton mill to a gristmill in 1856. After selling the mill, Banes became a farmer and land investor. He is interred with his wife in Metamora Cemetery, Metamora.

Metamora Cotton Factory

Equipped with 1000 spindles to spin raw cotton into thread, the three-story mill opened in 1845. Bane had to import the cotton from the south because it is not grown in Indiana. The canal made it less expensive to import cotton cloth and ready-made clothing, thus the mill became unprofitable. Bane removed the cotton making machinery and installed equipment to grind grains into flour and meal. Several cotton mills operated in the state of Indiana during this period, using the power of water to spin raw cotton or wool into thread.

State Historic Site

The Indiana State Museum currently operates the mill, grinding corn into meal that visitors may purchase as they watch the waterwheel use the canal's energy to turn the immense grist wheels. Visitors to the mill may also purchase tickets to ride the canal boat, the Ben Franklin. For information on hours and events, contact:

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

19083 Clayborne St.

Metamora, In 47030, USA

765-647-6512

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Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Constructed as part of the Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836 signed by Governor Noah Noble on January 27, 1836, the Whitewater Canal was to form an integral part of southeastern and eastern Indiana's transportation system. The ambitious act, in concert with the Panic of 1837, bankrupted the state and brought a major political party to its knees.

Indiana Mammoth Internal Improvement Act of 1836

The Internal Improvement Act was a too ambitious program of internal improvements that provided for the construction of canals and turnpikes. The ambitiousness of the program bankrupted the State of Indiana and caused the eventual demise and collapse of the Whig party, which favored the bill. The state assembly passed the bill that added ten million dollars to the state's budget at a time when its income was only about $65,000 annually.

Panic of 1837

This complex event created an economic depression that lasted from about 1837 until 1842. The multiple causes were questionable lending practices in the Western United States, restrictive lending policies enacted by Great Britain and falling agricultural prices. The period before 1837 had been a period of intense economic growth. During this time the prices of cotton and other commodities rose. Land prices also increased. The Bank of England noticed a decline in cash on hand in 1836. They raised interest rates in an attempt to attract more cash. When the Bank of England raised its interest, it forced banks in the United States and other nations to raise their rates. This, along with other events, caused land and cotton prices to fall. The chain of events this set off triggered a depression that caused profits, prices, and wages to fall and increased the unemployment rates. It was not until 1843 that the economies of the major countries rebounded.

Decline of the Whigs

The Whig party had pushed for the law and bore the brunt of the blame. During the following years, the Whig Party collapsed, leaving the Democratic Party in control for many years.

Whitewater Canal

The Whitewater Canal's construction lasted from 1836 to 1847. During this time, there were many starts and pauses as the State of Indiana ran out of money. The various private companies charged with completing it also ran into financial difficulties. After completion, it connected Hagerstown, Indiana with Cincinnati, Ohio seventy-six miles to the south. The canal provided a quick, convenient way for farmers to transport their goods to market in the cities. Before the canal a farmer would need several days travel over deeply rutted roads to take his goods to Cincinnati. The canal proved a difficult construction project. It dropped 491 feet over the distance and needed fifty-six locks and seven dams. Several aqueducts to carry the canal over waterways also needed construction. Portions of the canal operated until 1862. The Whitewater Valley Railroad runs a part of the canal as a tourist attraction between Connersville and Metamora Indiana. The train runs alongside the canal and at Metamora visitors can ride a canal boat. The town of Metamora has many small shops and museums. The Indiana State Museum maintains an operating gristmill in the town as part of its network of Indiana State Historic Sites.

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

Open from April through November, the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site is free. Visitors may purchase mill products inside the gristmill, watch the mill wheel turn or ride the canal boat, Ben Franklin. Special rates are available for schoolchildren. Groups may rent the facility for special occasions. Check the web site or call the phone number listed below for events, hours, admission prices and other information.

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site

19083 Clayborne St.

Metamora, In 47030, Usa

765-647-6512

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Whitewater Valley Railroad

The demise of the Whitewater Canal planted the seeds for the Whitewater Valley Railroad in the mid 1850's when floods washed out large portions of the canals. Franklin County residents petitioned the State of Indiana, asking that the state sell the canal towpath route to use as a railroad. In 1863, the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad purchased the rights to the towpath and built a line from Brookville to Hagerstown, Indiana. Portions of the canal remained open and became useful powering gristmills like the one at Metamora. The Whitewater Canal remained open in Metamora until 1953. Western Avenue now covers it.

The First Whitewater Valley Railroad

The first Whitewater Valley Railroad was a subsidiary of the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad. This subsidiary began construction of the rail line from Brookville, reaching Connersville in 1867. The line punched through to Hagerstown the next year. The Big Four, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis, Railroad purchased the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad in 1890. This line became the New York Central in later years. These lines operated both freight and passenger trains. The line discontinued passenger service in 1933. Freight service ground to a halt in the late 1970's and early 1980's.

The Second Whitewater Valley Railroad

Formed as a non-profit organization in 1972, the Whitewater Valley Railroad operates as an operating railroad museum. The all-volunteer staff runs both historic diesel and steam engines on the eighteen-mile line between Connersville and Metamora. For more information about train schedules, the history and other information, contact:

Whitewater Valley Railroad

455 Market St,

Connersville, IN 47331

(765) 825-2054

Back to Table of Contents



Whitewater Canal Trail

The Whitewater Canal Trail currently consists of three sections, the Metamora Trailhead, the Yellow Bank Trailhead and the Tecumseh Landing trailhead in Brookville. As of this writing, November 2016, the Metamora Trailhead and the Yellow Bank Trailhead are the only ones open. The plan for the Whitewater Canal organization is to build a trail along the Whitewater Canal stretching from Metamora to Brookville, a distance of eight miles. The Metamora Trail is about 2.6 miles long and the Yellowbank about .75 miles long. The sections have not yet been joined. Hikers will have to double these distances, as the trails are not a loop. The hiker must hike to the end, then hike back, so allow sufficient time for the total hike. The trails present a moderate hiking experience, as most of the trek is over level ground.

Metamora Trailhead

Begin the trail either at the gristmill in downtown Metamora or at the Duck Creek Aqueduct. There is parking at the Aqueduct. The trail extends to the Twin Locks, with the hiker passing through the beautiful Whitewater River valley with occasional view of the river. The Canal is almost constantly nearby. The Duck Creek Trailhead is near the red barn visible from the parking area.


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