Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Continued Troubles for the Plank Road from Lawrenceville, to Vincennes 1850's

The Saga of the Plank Road continues 

The next year on April 7, 1858 he Vincennes editor stated:

The recent floods of the Wabash and Embarrass rivers have inundated a large portion of that peninsula lying between those streams, known as Purgatory, and have also greatly injured that thoroughfare called the Plank Road ; so much so that the traveler along it has as many trials as good Christian had in passing the Slouch of Despond.

Before the completion of the railroad the plank road was indispensable to the people of Lawrenceville and "the regions round about," and is still of some interest to them, but not as much as to Vincennes. It is as convenient for the greater portion of Allison Prairie to go to Lawrenceville as to Vincennes, and for the purpose of shipping their products to a foreign market, they have as good a facilities at the former as at the latter place.

If the plank road is not repaired, Vincennes will lose a large amount of her trade, and Lawrenceville gain by it. The people of Vincennes are greatly averse to mending their ways, and there is little prospect of the road being permanently repaired. Indeed, so far as Lawrence County is concerned, any proposition to repair would be of doubtful policy. A better road can be made, and at much less expense.

The plank road, if abandoned by the company, cannot be kept in repair, unless at a heavy expense to the county. It would be far better policy to make further appropriations for the completion of the levee down the river to the railroad. That would protect all the lands north of the railroad from overflow, and cost the county less than to put the plank road in good repair.

That done, a good road could be made from Lawrenceville by either the new bridge (Nabb's bridge), or the plank road bridge, to the shoals called the Beaver dam, there to intersect the old Palestine road , at Huston's marsh, where the crossing is always good; thence to the mouth of Ward's lane; and thence, by the road already located, from that point to the upper ferry at Vincennes. This road would be shorter, and over ground where a road could be constructed at comparatively a very small cost.

No bridge would be required from the Embarrass to the Wabash. There are several marshy places on this line, but not to any great extent—not one-fourth as much as on the line of the plank road; and, as if nature had anticipated the necessity, there is a sufficient abundance of gravel directly adjoining these places to make a good substantial grade. The road labor which would be secured by the adoption of this route, would, in a few years, macadamize with gravel such portions of the road as are not by nature a good grade.

This road would also accommodate a much larger population than the old, as it approaches much nearer the oldest, best settled and best cultivated portions of Allison Prairie. That great corn region will, in future, find its best and most permanent market at the large distillery above Vincennes. To go there by the plank road increases the distance for those living north of said road several miles, whilst it does not diminish it any for those living south.

(The conclusion tomorrow.)


            The Lawrence County Historical Society will hold its monthly program meeting on Monday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m., at the History Center on the corner of 12th and State Streets in Lawrenceville.  Ryan Cox, minister at Pleasant Ridge Christian Church, will be the guest speaker.  A former high school history teacher, Cox will discuss how events in Europe resulted in the migration of a family whose descendants helped to found Pleasant Ridge in 1834, and 180 years later, continue to be active members of the congregation.

            The meeting free and open to the public.