The Wabash & Erie Canal was instrumental in the construction of the first railways in Fort Wayne, which quickly became a railroading center in the Midwest. In 1852, along the canal at the present-day railroad elevation that borders the south edge of Headwaters Park at Lafayette Street, the first locomotive was unloaded from a canal boat. The locomotive was placed on tracks that were laid on Lafayette Street and led to the south side of town where the main line of the new Ohio and Indiana Railroad was due to be built. Later, this became the Pennsylvania Railroad system for which Fort Wayne was a major hub. When railroad competition reduced the effectiveness of the canal, surveys for a rail line extended north of Fort Wayne. However, in 1881, officials of the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, known commonly as "The Nickel Plate Road", purchased the Wabash & Erie Canal right-of-way through central Fort Wayne. It became possible for the company to build a railroad through a Midwestern city, passing less than two blocks from the courthouse, without having to raze one building. The railroad elevation, completed in 1955, allowed the north side of the city to develop and grow rapidly. Today, the railroad elevation is a landmark structure between the downtown portion of Fort Wayne and Headwaters Park.