"Canal fever" struck in Indiana in the 1830's as a way to move goods and people. The Whitewater Canal was part of the vast internal improvement program undertaken by the State of Indiana. The program eventually sent the state into bankruptcy but the Whitewater Canal was completed by a private company. A fourteen-mile section of the original seventy-six mile canal is preserved from Laurel to Brookville as a state memorial. Today the canal is being remembered due to the Whitewater Canal Scenic Byway. Along the canal at the quaint town of Metamora features a working mill, a covered wooden aqueduct, a series of locks and a canal boat ride. A historic Whitewater Canal and River Trace (trail) generally follows the canal, providing a pleasurable hike.
At the close of the Civil War, the Whitewater Valley Railroad laid its tracks on the canal towpath. Today a scenic railroad operates on weekends to provide an authentic steam-engine train ride from Connersville to Brookville. Tourists, hikers and canoeists all make use of the railroad. Metamora has become a center of historical activity and is becoming a Mecca for those interested in a view of the past and the opportunity to shop for art and antique items.
A dam on the East Fork of the Whitewater River near Brookville has created a 5,260 acre reservoir. This dam was originally built to control flooding yet it provides opportunities for swimming, boating, hunting, fishing, camping, and related activities. Prior to the construction of the Brookville Dam, there was much flooding, leaving many of its bridges destroyed. Occasionally ferries were then used.