Day 44 Battle Ground Elementary School

Another cool, overcast day greeted us as we left at dawn from Chad’s house in West Lafayette, Indiana. Annika had a great breakfast layout with every type of breakfast food you could think of. It made our peddling this morning much easier. Thank you Annika!

Soon we passed through the towns of Prophetstown and Battle Ground. Prophetstown was a Native American village village founded by Shawnee leaders Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa. Tenskwatawa was a spiritual leader or Prophet.

Battle Ground, Indiana is the site of the Battle of Tippecanoe. Tenskwatawa ordered a predawn attack on the American military force camped there. He retreated after a two hour battle and the Americans burned Prophetstown to the ground. Today the site of Prophetstown is a state park.

For much of the day we followed the Wabash River. We rode in a lot of forests which was a nice change of pace. This famous song about the Wabash will put you in the proper mood.

In Delphi, Indiana they had some remnants of the Wabash and Erie Canal. They had “rewatered” a portion of the canal.

The canal linked the Great Lakes to the Ohio River and was the longest canal ever constructed in North America. It began operation in the summer of 1843 and only operated for about a decade. Railroads took over the canal cargo. The Nickel Plate Railroad used the towpath for their railroad. In Peru, Indiana we used the old Nickel Plate railroad bridge to cross the Wabash River.

We also noticed many Dan Henrys on the road. They mean that the local cyclists also use the same roads which is always a good sign.

How do you get a commanding view in Indiana? Go across the Mississinewa River Dam. The Mississinewa is a tributary of the Wabash River.

Finally we arrived at our destination, Wabash, Indiana. It is on (surprise!) the Wabash River. Wabash claims that they were the first electrically lighted city in the world.

However, when you read the fine print, they installed four carbon arc lights on their courthouse in 1880. The lights were powered by a 12 horsepower steam engine in the basement.

Today they have installed 2/3 sized replicas of the carbon arc lights on every downtown street lamp. Perhaps they are trying to revise their history.

Wabash also had a bunch of elephants statues downtown.

In 1942 the Great American circus had a performance at the Wabash High School. Modoc the elephant escaped and wondered downtown. There she smelled freshly roasted peanuts at the Bradley Brothers Drugstore and she smashed through the front door and began gobbling the peanuts. Here is the drugstore today.

Then Modoc went on a five-day rampage through two counties. She made all the headlines and was the most famous elephant for that week in 1942.

Here is an easy read about Modoc and Chad volunteered to lead the book club discussion when he returns. More details about Modoc and Wabash are available here. You may also recall that rampaging elephants in China were in the news this summer.

Carbon arc lights and an elephant – all on one street corner in Wabash, Indiana. It doesn’t get much better than that!


  • West Lafayette to Wabash, Indiana
  • Distance: 88.7 miles (143 km)
  • Climbing: 2269 feet (692 m)
  • Temperature: 62 – 73°F (17 – 23°C)


3 thoughts on “Day 44 Battle Ground Elementary School

  1. Thanks for the little nice stories, it‘s a 43 days new standard to read your blog by drinking first coffee in the Morning.
    Wish you a good day, Volker

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have enjoyed reading about your adventure. Love the little history and geography lessons. Such a fun read to start the day.
    Thank you!


  3. I have enjoyed reading about your adventure. Love the little history and geography lessons. Such a fun read to start the day.
    Thank you!


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