Darwin Ferry Boat Swept Away

The historical Darwin Ferry Boat was swept away on the Wabash River.

Posted: Jan 11, 2020 6:49 PM

DARWIN TOWNSHIP, Ill. (WTHI) - The historical Ferry Boat in Darwin Township, Illinois was swept away off the banks of the Wabash River early Saturday morning.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Ferry was seen about a mile down the Wabash from its original docking position tipped over and stationary in the middle of the river. Likely stuck on an area known to having large rocks. 

The Darwin Ferry had been put into place in 1818 and was the longest running ferry on the Wabash River.

Todd Kirby is a Trustee for Darwin Township and was among the first to make the discovery. Since the Wabash had been rising, there were concerns of it being swept away.

When Kirby checked on the Darwin Ferry this morning, it was not in its usual docking position and was spotted about a mile down the river.

Danny Gard also was close by and told News 10 that historically the Ferry helped around 10-12 farmers that farmed on both the Indiana and Illinois side. The Ferry would help them move there equipment across the Wabash.

Even cars and trucks utilized the Ferry to be able to get across the river as well. 

Gard discussed how the Ferry was a big part of his family.

"My Great Uncles, my cousins, and myself all farmed across the river and used the Ferry Boat over the years and have moved equipment back and forth. I've seen trucks go off of it. I've seen it sunk before and re-floated again. Just numerous things," said Gard. We have had all sorts of accidents with it. It just had a lot of historical value to it and it has been here forever. We grew up seeing the Ferry Boat being there. So we just kind of hate losing it like that. But really hate seeing it end up this way."

Right now, Kirby and Gard have no idea what will happen next to the Ferry Boat.

As the Wabash River is still in its flood stage and will continue to rise over the next few days, they have no idea what may happen to it.

They will continue to keep an eye on the Ferry over the course of the next week as levels hopefully get back to normal. 

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