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National and State Registers of Historic Places

Soule Canal - Gray County Segment 1

Picture of property NE 1/4 Sec. 1, Twp. 26S, Range 29W
Ingalls (Gray County)
Listed in National Register Oct 15, 2014

Architect: N/A
Category: irrigation facility
Thematic Nomination: Historic Resources of the Soule Canal

The Soule Canal, also known as the Eureka Canal, was a 96-mile-long earthen ditch constructed in the late 19th century to carry water from the Arkansas River to farms in southwest Kansas for irrigation purposes. Plans for its construction were conceived by brothers John and George Gilbert, and the project was financed by Asa Soule, a native of Rochester, New York who made his millions manufacturing and selling hop bitters. Construction of the canal began in April 1884 and was completed in 1889. It took two years, 60 horses, 150 men, and between $250,000 and $1 million to dig the channel that stretched from Ingalls in Gray County to Spearville in Ford County. The canal was a complete failure, due in part to the nature of its construction, including a risk of side slopes collapsing and water loss due to seepage, and the fact that there was nobody in charge of maintaining it. Attempts to revive the canal in 1909 and 1931 were unsuccessful. This segment nearest Ingalls is the westernmost extant portion of the canal located nearest the long-buried sump or collecting pool that was adjacent to the Arkansas River southeast of Ingalls. The site includes a remnant of the early 20th century alignment of U.S. Highway 50, which cuts through the west edge of the canal structure. The roadbed and associated roadway elements illustrate a considerable obstacle to the efforts to revive the canal in the early 20th century, thus ending future attempts to utilize the ditch for irrigation purposes. It was nominated for its association with agriculture, community planning and development, and engineering.

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