Five Obstacles that Stood in the Way of Prairietown's Survivial
1. January 6, 1836-Mammoth Internal Improvement Act
Indiana Governor Noah Noble signed the Mammoth Internal Improvement Act that allocated $10 million dollars of state money to fund canals, turnpikes and other major improvements in Indiana.
2. "Canal Fever"
If a state could gain access to the Great Lakes, there would be water transportation to and from the eastern markets. Canals also provided the solution to the problem of isolation which held up the development of land-locked areas. “Rivers are ungovernable things … Canals are quiet and very manageable.” – Benjamin Franklin
3. Central Canal Construction
Construction on the Central Canal began in 1836. Thought to be the most important of the improvements because it would transverse the landlocked center of the state and connect our capitol to the world. While never a financial success, the benefit the Central Canal played was its critical role in the development of Indianapolis and communities along its path. The need for labor caused Indiana’s population to grow significantly.
4. Transportation Blunders
By the end of 1836, the National Road was planned and surveyed to run through Indiana but was still not completed. State planners were too concerned with canal construction while railways gained momentum and promised to be a more effective mode of transportation. State funding was tied up in the canals while the railroads and steam travel forged ahead. Indiana was non-progressive during this period and as a result, some of the canals were eventually abandoned and left incomplete.
5. Panic of 1837
In August of 1836, President Andrew Jackson allowed the Second Bank of the United States’ charter to expire. He issued an order that citizens could only pay in specie, or coined money, from the treasury for new government land, which led to bank closures and eventually caused The Panic (Depression) of 1837.
“Any man worth his salt will stick up for what he believes right, but it takes a slightly better man to acknowledge instantly and without reservation that he is in error.”
- President Andrew Jackson
The motto “Crossroads of America”, was adopted by the state in 1837. In the early years river traffic, especially along the Ohio, was a major means of transportation. The National Road, a major westward route, and the north-south Michigan Road crossed in Indianapolis. Today more major highways intersect in Indiana than in any other state.
Perhaps you reside in one of these towns?
See if your hometown was around in 1836 and learn more about how it got started.
Other Indiana towns that were founded around 1836:
- Town of La Porte (founded 1833) – Survived.
- Town of LaGrange (founded 1836) – Survived.
- Town of Middlebury (founded 1836) – Survived.
- Town of New Haven (founded 1839) – Survived.
- Town of Westport (founded 1836) – Survived.