The Railroad Comes to Wabash
Running alongside the trail in many places, the railroad that built this bridge was originally the only means of traveling north and south by rail. Linked stations were in Marion and North Manchester. It’s, historically,
probably best known as the Big Four Railroad. This railroad was, for a time, the largest employer in the City of Wabash and they built rail spurs throughout the city as well as numerous bridges across the Wabash river.
The station at Wabash was division headquarters until the mid-1920s. The bridge that remains here shows clearly how the support pillars were built. Farther down there is another rail bridge that was built the same way,
though its exterior is better covered by concrete and it is still in use. In thedays before the flood control dams, p articularly brave rail workers were made to drive heavily loaded coal cars onto these bridges to keep them from being washed away by flood. The railroad came to Wabash in 1855. Many towns sought to have the railroad run tangentially to their downtown to avoid having to build around the railroad, or live too close to the tracks. Wabash chose to have it run straight through town. This was in part because the hills around the city of Wabash made the project very expensive. The first victim of the train noise so well known to anyone who
lives in town, was the founder of Wabash himself, Hugh Hanna. The first tracks through town ran mere feet from his front door.