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CANCELED Brown Bag: History of the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal
April 7, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
This program may be rescheduled for a later date.
Guest speaker Deborah Remer will discuss the history of the failed Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal project.
In 1837, Michigan officially became a state. At that time, plank roads, corduroy roads, and Native American trails were the only ways to reach the interior part of the state. As Michigan’s first governor, Stevens T. Mason actively encouraged projects that would develop wilderness areas and create jobs. Around the same time, the Erie Canal was enjoying great financial success prompting Governor Mason to attempt the construction of a canal in Michigan by connecting the eastern part of the state (Mt. Clemens) with the western (Kalamazoo); in total, about 216 miles. It was hoped the Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal would provide jobs and would also help Michigan’s transportation needs. The measure passed in the state senate and a fund for the canal was set up, involving over one dozen companies.
By 1848, the project was abandoned. The locks were “pillaged and burned, the iron stolen.” Afterwards, “Mason’s Folly,” as the canal came to be known, was used not for transportation but for
water power. The canal was the first internal improvement project for the state of Michigan, and it failed. Portions of the canal have recently been reconstructed in Clinton Township and can also still
be seen around Yates Cider Mill.
Bring your lunch. The historical society will provide dessert and coffee. Admission is FREE. Please register using the provided link.