Bob Schmidt, president of the Canal Society of Indiana, will present a program on “Canal Building in Huntington County” at the Huntington County Historical Museum. The event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m.
Schmidt will discuss the unique features of the portion of the Wabash and Erie Canal, which carried freight and passengers across Huntington County in the middle part of the 19th century. The canal’s construction created culverts and weirs (low dams built in a river to back up or divert water), among other requirements. There were more unique features engineered in Huntington County than in any other Indiana county the waterway traversed.
Canal service from Fort Wayne to the city began in 1835. The first canal boat, the Indiana, with Captain Asa Fairfield of Fort Wayne at the helm, arrived at Burk’s Lock in what is now downtown Huntington in July of that year.
Schmidt is originally from Evansville, the Ohio River terminus of the 468-mile Wabash and Erie Canal. He graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle with a bachelor’s in history and political science.
In 1965, Schmidt began working in Fort Wayne with the General Electric (GE) Company in finance. During his 28-year GE career he also lived in Tell City and Jonesboro, AR. Later he worked 13 years in financial services with Prudential Insurance. He has been president of the Canal Society of Indiana since 1991.
His wife, Carolyn, is the editor of the society’s historical journal “The Tumble,” which can be found at the CSI website, indcanal.org. The Canal Society is currently placing an emphasis on historical signage along Hoosier canal routes.
The program is free to members of the Huntington County Historical Society. There is a small charge for nonmembers. The museum is located at 315 Court St., Huntington. Light refreshments will be available following the program.