I continue our look at some of Indiana’s lesser known rivers with one of the many rather large streams found in the northern section of our state. This is the Salamonie River. This is the Miami Indian name for the spring wildflower, the bloodroot, which can be found growing along this river in wooded areas.
The Salamonie River begins near the Indiana-Ohio border just south of the hamlet of Salamonia. From its headwaters, the Salamonie flows northward to its confluence with the Wabash River near the village of Lagro.
Just upstream from the Wabash is Salamonie Reservoir, formed by the construction of a 6,100-foot-long, 133-foot-tall dam across the Salamonie River. This 2,665-acrea lake completed in 1966 is part of an 11,636-area property that offers a variety of recreation opportunities, and is well worth a visit.
There are five boat ramps around Lake Salamonie and two more on the Salamonie River below the massive dam. One can fish, hunt in season, camp, swim or just enjoy the scenery along this lovely body of water.
Noted as a world class bird watching site, Salamonie has two wetlands, Switchgrass Marsh and Majenica Marsh, that attract many of the birds found in this area.
Southweast of the lake are the towns of Warren and Montpelier. These towns, as well as Portland further up the Salamonie, were in an area where the first commercial gas well in Indiana was drilled in 1886. This led to a big natural gas boom much like today in the sections of the United States that was an economic bonanza to a number of towns in the region.
Montpelier was one of the towns impacted by the gas boom. The manufacture of glass was very important, as well as other industries that used the natural gas to produce its products. The town became known as the “Zinnia City” for all these flowers that were planted in its town parks.