Audio: “Pirogue Landing” featuring Tom Castaldi. Courtesy of WBNI-Fort Wayne.
An Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society marker states: “Terminal point where French-Canadian boats, hollowed from 30-60 foot poplar logs, brought families and cargo up the Maumee River from Toledo and Detroit, and returned furs to Lake Erie in exchange for trader’s supplies from the late 1700s until the canal era of the 1840s“.
Pirogues had been a means of navigating the Midwestern Rivers. Constructed from poplar trees, because they were one of the most plentiful resources in the region, fur-traders used pirogues to haul heavy quantities of furs and goods in and out of the wilderness. In 1819, the last detachment of soldiers at Fort Wayne left the garrison by pirogue, carrying in the boats their heavy artillery. The arrival of Johnny Appleseed in Fort Wayne recalled, “That in 1830 he was seen one autumn day, seated in a section of a hollow tree, which improvised for a boat, laden with apple seeds fresh from the cider presses of a more eastern part of the country, paddling up the Maumee River, landing at Wayne’s fort, in Fort Wayne”. Susan Man and Alida Hubbell, the first women to teach in Fort Wayne, came to the town by pirogue from the mouth of the Maumee in 1836. The pirogue began to be replaced by boats and then canal boats by the mid-1830s.
Photos courtesy of Allen County-Fort Wayne Historical Society, ARCH Inc., and Google.com
- The Bicentennial Heritage Trail Group, ARCH Inc., Essex Group, Inc., On The Heritage Trial, Fort Wayne, Indiana: A Walking Guide Book, (1994) pp.52-53.