While walking around the downtown area in Indianapolis, Indiana in April of 2021, we came across the beautiful Indiana Canal which they fondly call the Canal Walk. This walk was built in the 1800s to help facilitate interstate commerce but didn’t actually work out the way it was intended. Originally the canal was supposed to extend 296 miles from Peru, Indiana, to Evansville, Indiana, where it would reach the Ohio River (part of the canal-building craziness started after the building of the Erie Canal).
It was originally divided into two sections, North and South. However, a third section was designated later and is called the Indianapolis section. Sadly only eight miles were completed, with an additional 80 miles between Anderson, Indiana, and Martinsville, Indiana, having been partially built. Indiana suffered financial difficulties due to the Panic of 1837 and had to turn the canal over to the estate’s creditors, and the building of the canal was stopped in 1839. Thus, only 8 miles are what were completed before the work stoppage.
Today, the refurbished Canal Walk (stretching north through White River State Park to 11th Street) serves the downtown community as a waterside promenade for walkers, runners, bikers, and sightseers (while the canal itself includes a steady stream of pedal boats, which may be rented west of the Indiana State Museum).
We found a place to park and made our way down to start our own Canal Walk experience. One thing we first saw when we made our way down was the Indiana Historical Society Clock on one of the light posts. I thought it was quite interesting and wondered if it lit up at night. We didn’t stick around to see, but I think it would have been impressive.
We also noticed the many paddleboats on the water. It looked like a lot of fun, but we just had a nice time walking around, taking pictures, and looking at some of the stores along the water. I loved seeing all the ducks swimming around as well as all the bridges leading down to the water from the streets above. I know if I worked in the area, I would probably be out there sometimes to enjoy my lunch and take in the atmosphere for a few. It was very pleasant and a great afternoon. We even saw a group setting up for a gender reveal party. Seemed like a nice place for that. Still wonder what they were planning to use for the reveal.
While walking along the Canal Walk we made sure to stop and check out their 9/11 Memorial. It consists of two 11,000-pound beams from the Twin Towers. Behind the beams stand a pair of six-foot-tall black granite walls inscribed with remembrances of the events in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Perched atop one of the beams is a bronze, life-size sculpture of an American bald eagle, with wings outstretched and gazing east toward New York City. It was quite impressive and so glad we stumbled across it while exploring the canal area.
We were there in April but apparently, during the summer, you can enjoy a fun evening with friends and family along the historic canal at Concerts on the Canal hosted by the Indiana Historical Society. Concerts on the Canal take place on the Kruse Family Stardust Terrace at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick History Center. You may reserve a table on the terrace or sit on the grassy hill across the canal. Foodservice and a cash bar will be available from the Stardust Terrace Café and outdoor grill or you can bring your own food. Sounds like a fun evening and something to do if we are there during the summer sometime.
One other thing I wanted to mention was the Robert D. Orr Plaza created in honor of the 45th Governor of Indiana. It is right near the Canal Walk and is a great place to see the back of the Indiana State Capitol Building. Or as they call it the Indiana Statehouse.
We had a great time doing part of the Canal Walk. I would have liked to have seen more but we were on a little bit of a time crunch. Still was happy to see what we were able to see in a couple of hours. Here is a link to their website with more information about the canal as well as other things to do in downtown Indianapolis. If you have been there, please comment and tell me what you thought of the canal and the area. I would love to hear your perspective. Happy travels.
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