Reminder of an important portage in Fort Wayne

During the late summer of 2014, I was with two friends riding a bike trail in Fort Wayne. We started in Rockhill Park on the west side of Fort Wayne. The trail we rode on follows part of the old towpath of the Wabash-Erie Canal. On the southern side of Rockhill Park is a small road known as Portage Boulevard. Today obviously automobiles travel on it, but its name is a reminder of important early history in Fort Wayne. A portage is a place where early travelers carried canoes from one river to another. This once involved the St. Marys River, and other rivers. Portage Blvd. also follows the old line of the Wabash-Erie Canal. But don’t try to find the actual track of the old portage because it is gone. A major drainage project in the 1880s emptied several thousand acres of land and reshaped the frontier appearance of the land. There are a few reminders elsewhere of the old canal, such as a ridge running through Rockhill Park. Remnants of a few aqueducts remain too. It’s interesting to note the names of some roads are no accident. I knew Portage Blvd. followed the line of the canal, but only recently did I find out about the significance of a portage. Another small historical puzzle is solved for me anyway.

Wabash-Erie Canal Remnants 024

Reminder of a portage in Fort Wayne.


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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