Digging of Haulover Canal In Florida
Channel Connecting Mosquito Lagoon To The Intracoastal Waterway
Friday April 28, 2017
An in-depth article on the digging of the Haulover Canal would be beyond the scope of this website, but makes for an interesting thought process of why the Indian River Lagoon was connected to the Mosquito Lagoon during the 1800's. In our research it appears that inland waterways were thought of well into the 16th Century but prior to Florida becoming a state or even a territory of the United States.
According to accounts the first thoughts of digging a canal was brought up by Army Engineer James Gadsen in 1924 and again in 1844 by Edward Jacob Blake but it wasn't until 1854 that another Army Engineer lieutenant Horatio G. Wright would put a shovel in the ground and dig a twelve foot wide two feet deep canal connecting the two bodies of water for almost 800 yards. This wouldn't be the complete answer as it often silted in and lacked any maintenance. By 1878 the Haulover Canal admitted boats with no more than eleven foot beams and 1.5 foot draft and by 1891 the canal was complete enough to allow barges of fruit between the Indian and Mosquito Lagoons.
Today's Haulover Canal is big and deep enough for tugs and heavy boat traffic. The tides and wind currents often flow rapidly though the canal depending on their direction.
Interestingly enough the narrow stretch of land between the two bodies of water were called "The Haulover" and was an inconvenient loading and unloading area for barges going north and south on the coast of Florida. Henry Flagler's railroad would render the Intracoastal Waterway for commerce irrelevant, but public outcry called for the completion of the waterway up and down the east coast of the United States anyway.
There's a lot of speculation about the impact of what the Haulover Canal had on the Indian River and the Mosquito Lagoon. Ancient findings suggest that much of Florida's lagoons of today were dry marshland inhabited by mammoths, mastodons and saber toothed cats as bones of all have been found while dredging. Inlets have shifted during storms and stabilized as engineers have developed our coastlines, the Haulover Canal on the Mosquito Lagoon is another piece of the puzzle in how Florida is going to withstand development into the coming centuries.
Haulover Canal at Mosquito Lagoon is the channel that connects the lagoon to the Intracoastal Waterway and holds nice redfish during parts of the year.
Last modified: November 02 2016 21:26:14.
Published by: Captain Richard Bradley of Lagooner Fishing Guides©