Goshen Millrace Canal has long history

Today more people will likely be familiar with it because of a trail system. But the Goshen Millrace Canal has a very long history locally and was once an important piece of the local economic picture. Harnessing the power of water was a priority in the 1800s. Cephas Hawks Jr., who owned a mill in nearby Waterford, came up with the idea of a millrace canal in about 1860. His aspirations were delayed by the Civil War, but construction did eventually begin in March 1867. The canal had to be dug by a small army of men using teams of horses and plows. The project was finished in October 1868, about a year and a half after it started. But as is often the case, technology changes and the canal was almost obsolete by the time it opened because of the advent of steam power. The canal managed to stay in use until about 1917 when a milling company was the last business to use the water power. There are a few remnants of those days still standing. If you look to the right in the photo you will notice a foundation or footings of some type. I’m making an educated guess and I could be mistaken, but it’s possible it was an old alignment of the bridge across the millrace. A couple of old maps show clearly Plymouth Avenue has been altered (the photo was taken from the bridge on Plymouth Avenue) so it’s possible I’m correct. The millrace is a reminder of the days when water was converted to power.

Goshen Millrace Canal 002

Former Goshen Millrace Canal.


About historynut11

My name is Tim Ashley and I am a newspaper editor/reporter/photographer in Milford, Indiana, and live in nearby Goshen, Indiana. A deeply held and sincere passion of mine is history and learning from the past. I enjoy a wide variety of history topics, but particularly local history, noted American highways (Lincoln Highway and Route 66), railroad history and the Civil War. I believe we can learn much from the past and that past shapes who we are today. I also enjoy visiting museums and historical sites, as well as taking photos of remnants from the past still standing.
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