The Wabash-Erie Canal brought people to the area in the 1830's. Named for the river that runs through the county, Wabash is filled with a rich history.
Our roots are steeped in the Miami and Potawatomi native american culture, the canal and railroads, becoming the first electrically lighted city in the WORLD March 31, 1880, and we added another highlight to our history when a frightened elephant named Modoc escaped the circus and traveled the county in 1942.
Today, along with strong cultural amenities, Wabash appeals to history hunters, outdoor adventure seekers, and leisure travelers.
This quick reference map shows the locations of places to eat, play and stay in the historic district of downtown Wabash.
For it's size, little Roann (pronounced Roe'-ann) has a lot to see. Tree lined streets greet you as you enter the town. Rich in history and landmarks it's easy to make this little town a 1/2 day visit. Less than a dozen gristmills in Indiana still grind grain - Roann is home to the Stockdale mill which provides tours and sells freshly ground cornmeal. It's hard to miss the barn-red, covered bridge, one of two in our county. Squirrel Creek is a bulk food store just down the road, and don't forget to stop in to Lynn's for a great meal.
The Roann Covered Bridge Festival is a four-day event held the weekend after Labor Day every September.
Home to the first wooden roller coaster in Indiana, the small town of Richvalley was the location for Boyd Park. The park opened in 1901 and featured the first side friction wooden structure. More often, people watched instead of riding and the park closed in the 1930s.
The small community overlooks the Wabash River and is peppered with the lore of the French Family Murders, Native American burial grounds and rolling hills. Richvalley is often referred as the prairie, with its rolling countryside and massive farmlands.
The entire town of Somerset was relocated in when the Mississinewa Dam was created in the 1960s. The original Somerset was located near the dam and is now underwater. Today, the small community plays host to an array of visitors who utilize the Mississinewa Lake and forest for camping, boating, fishing and wildlife observation.
Somerset Community Days is an annual celebration held each summer.
Located halfway between Wabash and North Manchester, Urbana was referenced briefly in a scene from the movie Bicentennial Man, wherein the main character, an android named Andrew, looks for others of his kind.
This small rural community has an extremely active local Lyons Club. It is also home to two churches. One church is air conditioned, the other has heat. Both congregations meet at different times at the church of the season.
The area was first occupied by the Miami Nation of Indians. French Missionaries in 1672 spoke of the Miami as being one of the most powerful nations of the west. The English started to move in but the building of the Wabash and Erie Canal in 1834 was a major turning point bringing in more people. Urbana was surveyed in 1854. Soon the Quick and Company built a sawmill the Van Pyne family opened a shoe shop.
Our county's largest northern town, North Manchester is home to Manchester University a four-year liberal arts institution established in 1889. The university was visited in 1968 by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F Kennedy.
Thomas R Marshall, Vice President under Woodrow Wilson was born here. North Manchester's quaint downtown provides residents and visitors alike with delightful shops and dining experiences.
This quick reference map shows the locations of places to eat, play and stay in the historic district of downtown North Manchester.
Lagro (pronounced 'luh-grow'), named after Miami Indian Chief Le Gros, established in the 1830's was at one time the largest town in the county due in part to it's canal and locks which enabled provisions to be brought in and also shipped out by canal boat.
It's fame was shortly lived when in 1874 the last canal boats ran through the locks. Times were changing and the railroad became the preferred transportation method. You can find an interesting story on the history of Lagro by clicking here.
Every spring the annual bird migration is celebrated at the Salamonie Lake Birding Extravaganza. "Lagro Good Ol Days" is a 3-day festival celebrated every June. The Salamonie Lake Senior Fall Fest, and Salamonie Rider’s Rendezvous are held each fall. For dates, times, or details about any of these events, please reach out to us!
Located conveniently between Wabash and Marion, LaFontaine (pronounced 'la-fown'-tin) was incorporated in 1873 and is a small town with historic downtown buildings and older homes. Visit their website here. LaFontaine holds the "Ashland Days" every summer.
Every October the largest War of 1812 living history reenactment in the United States is held just south of LaFontaine.
Our most northern little community, three miles north of North Manchester, Liberty Mills is home to approximately 150 people. It has a history rooted with the Potawatomi and Miami Indians, followed by times of mills and liquor. Home to three-covered bridges in the past, the latest covered bridge was lost in 1953. Time magazine listed the bridge in an article in 1936 and was the little town's only claim to fame, unless you want to believe the Popsicle invention theory, which is pretty amusing.
For those who enjoy geocaching, there is a cache hidden at the Eel river bridge, a stop on the Indiana Bridge Quest.
There is a public access site to the Eel river on the town's south side. This stretch of the Eel river is known for canoeing. There is also a legend about the access site that you'll need to ask the locals about.
The Tippecanoe Audubon Society owns and operates three nature preserves near Liberty Mills. Bring your binoculars and your bird book and see how many different birds you can identify.
Bridges of Wabash County
We're pleased to have two covered bridges within our county (Roann and North Manchester) to share with you. However, covered bridges are not the only special bridges here. Many different architectural features adorn our crossovers. Bridgehunter.com has a listing of the historic and notable bridges in the county. A day trip could be made visiting these local treasures.
If you are fascinated about the history behind the Wabash - Erie Canal Towpath and would like to take a tour of the trail by car, or by bicycle, please visit this link. Points of interest, history, and a great learning adventure for the whole family.
Adventure seekers can get their high-tech thrills in Wabash County! In geocaching, treasure hunters find hidden "caches" which are located by GPS coordinates. This is a great adventure for families and anyone who loves the thrill of the hunt. For details and cache clues please visit www.geocaching.com
On the River
We are fortunate to have 19 miles of the Wabash River flow through our communities.
The Wabash River Defenders was formed to keep our river clean of tires and trash and debris. Because of their initiative, over 62 tons of debris has been removed. Our river is cleaner and has spawned other counties to take care of their portion of this great asset.
Our river is loved by those who canoe or kayak because of it's easy access points, towering cliffs, abundance of wildlife and birds, and breathtaking scenery.
The trip from Wabash to Peru is about 15 miles and takes approximately 6 hours to navigate.
We are proud to have 26 listings our county in the National Register of Historic Places the majority of which are listed for their architectural or engineering significance.
Hunting and Fishing
Wabash County is rich with hunting and fishing opportunities for the sportsman. White tailed deer, squirrel, coyote, raccoon, turkey are popular hunts.
The go-to site for all things hunting and fishing related is the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (Indiana DNR).
For your convenience we've posted some popular references for you here:
- Buy a hunting or fishing license in Wabash County
- Buy a hunting or fishing license online
- Hunting and Trapping Seasons
- Wabash County and online Check stations
- Fishing and Wildlife Areas
- Hunting and Trapping
- Archery and Shooting Ranges
- Fishing and Lakes information
- Fishing Spots in the county
- Venison - Deer Meat Processors