“Whether the current of its journey south is languid or swift, whether its surf darkens with the filtered mud or mirror a sky flushed with rose and lavender, The Wabash flows onward, totally alive –– like the town of New Harmony itself ––– reminding us it is an unpredictable river, not a placid, circumscribed lake.”
— Jane Owen
The Wabash River is one of the two great rivers that give Posey County its unique position in the world. The Wabash starts at Grand Lake in western Ohio and flows 475 miles to the Point in Posey County, where it merges with the Ohio.
It was first discovered by native Americans a long time ago. The first known European to find it was the famous French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle in 1669. The name comes from the French spelling of the Indian word “Ouabache,” which means “white.” Back then, the river was clear, and many white fossils were visible on its bottom.
In the early 1800’s, the Wabash was an important artery for trade with flatboats and steamers transporting goods and passengers. That’s why New Harmony was so prominent at the time. But with the coming of the railroads, commercial traffic disappeared from the Wabash.
Today, the Wabash is used almost exclusively for recreational boating, fishing, and sightseeing. New Harmony, Harmonie State Park, the Old Dam, and Dogtown Ferry Public Fishing Area and Boat Ramp are publicly accessible spots to catch a sunset, cast a line, or just enjoy watching the river flow.