1843 was a big year for Delphi, Indiana. That was the year the Wabash and Erie Canal reached the Lafayette and Delphi settlements. They could now export products they produced—mostly agricultural products— to the east within a couple of weeks. They could also import needed tools, supplies, and cultural products like pianos. Within a few decades, however, the railroads came through. Faster than donkeys could tow a boat and able to run year-round, trains took over the transportation industry. Canal boats became obsolete.
Today the Wabash and Erie Canal is active again in Delphi, albeit for just the distance it takes for visitors to experience a short replica canal boat ride. In addition to the boat ride, an interpretive center filled with hands-on exhibits, a reconstructed 1850s village, and walking trails add to the canal experience.