Sep 20, 2022
Could the White River make the new city of Indianapolis a major center for shipping in the 1820s? Could a steamboat arrive and depart in the 1830s, or would it get stuck on a sandbar? And, nearly 200 years later, has the depth of the waterway changed in the Indy metro area?
Hoosier History Live will plunge into these and other issues about the White River. Its west fork flows through Indianapolis, which was created in the wilderness of the 1820s to be the new state capital city. Many historic accounts discuss how state leaders assumed the White River would be navigable for a range of watercraft. When a steamboat called the "General Hanna" (its owner was Robert Hanna, a military commander) got stuck in 1831 on a sandbar just south of the city, where it remained for six weeks and became an object of ridicule, the challenges with navigability were obvious.