Pickett's Run

Pickett's Run (HM17FL)

Location: Bluffton, IN 46714 Wells County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 44.343', W 85° 10.011'

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Neither Pickett's Run nor any other stream appears in the Original Plat Map of Bluffton of 1839. The only known map of early Bluffton depicting a stream, reproduced here, was printed in the 1876 ILLUSTRATED HISTORICAL ATLAS OF THE STATE OF INDIANA.

This natural waterway proved too convenient as an open sewer. By the late 1800s, newspaper accounts referred to Pickett's Run as "The old eyesore." A City Council tour of the stream in the summer of 1891 "found it in a horrid condition" caused by property owners draining and throwing filth into the stream, which included a couple of hog pens built over the stream. Council ordered the Street Commissioner to clean Pickett's Run.

"The health of the entire population along the stream was greatly endangered ... as almost every day develops new cases of typhoid fever along the Run."

In August 1891, City Council voted 4-3 to create sanitary and storm sewerage systems to replace Pickett's Run and, in June 1894, voted 4-3 to build the sewer systems, the deciding vote cast both times by Mayor Martin W. Walbert. By spring of 1897, the sewer systems had been substantially finished, and Pickett's Run had been filled in.

"Pickett's Run is being rapidly wiped out of existence and soon where an odorous little stream stole through back yards and along streets the sewer will hump its back and carry. the water away."

"Pickett's Run with its accumulation of filth had become a source of disease and the earth in the rear of our dwellings was sour and foul from the deposits of sewerage on the surface of the ground. Common Council accordingly undertook the task of correcting the evil, and Pickett's Run is now obliterated, and sewers pass by each lot in the more densely populated part of the city."
Mayor James B. Hale, September 1898,
addressing new Mayor and City Council

The townsfolk buried Pickett's Run and built houses on it.

In March 1913, the Wabash River came looking for its buried tributary with a 100-year flood. Folks weathered the flood and cleaned up.

Ninety years later, all of Pickett's Run was resurrected by a flash flood prior to midnight of July 4, 2003 followed by a week-long flood which reclaimed the lower end of this forgotten tributary of the Wabash River.

By early 2005, most of the houses built in the lower end of Pickett's Run had been bought by the City and torn down.

This area is now maintained as green space, a tribute to how Pickett's Run both shaped our City and is a vital part of the Wabash River floodplain.
HM NumberHM17FL
Placed ByCity of Bluffton and The Wells County Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 25th, 2014 at 6:38pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 654781 N 4511406
Decimal Degrees40.73905000, -85.16685000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 44.343', W 85° 10.011'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 44' 20.58" N, 85° 10' 0.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)260
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 448-498 E Walnut St, Bluffton IN 46714, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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