Augusta Canal

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Augusta Canal


The Augusta Canal is an historic canal located in Augusta, Georgia. It was devised to harness the power of the fall line of the Savannah River for mills and to provide consuming water for the city. It is the only canal in the world still used for its initial purpose of providing hydro-electric power to textile mills.


The Augusta Canal was chartered in 1845 and completed in 1847, as a source of water, power and transportation for the city of Augusta. It was one of the couple of successful industrial canals in the American South. During the time of construction, the canal was going by Henry Cumming and was designed by J. Edgar Thomson. In 1847, the first factories started, a saw and grist mill and the Enterprise Mill, were built. It would be one of numerous factories that would be constructed along the Augusta Canal.

By the time of the Civil War, Augusta was one of the couple of manufacturing centers in the South. The power afforded there directed Confederate Col. George W. Rains to select Augusta as the location for the Confederate Powderworks. The twenty-eight buildings, which were the only ones constructed by the government of the Confederate States of America, stretched for two miles along the Augusta Canal. Other conflict industries started to establish along the canal producing Augusta an important center for ammunition and war materiel. Unlike most Southern cities after General Sherman's march through the South, Augusta completed the conflict in better condition. The population had increase two-fold and hard currency was accessible to fiance recovery. The canal was enlarged in 1875.

A rise era saw the construction of the Enterprise Mill, King Mill, and Sibley Mill, the Lombard Ironworks and may others opened or expanded. Several people who dwelled on farms shifted to the city to work at the mills. Largely employing women and children, the factories directed to the rise of mill villages in their precincts. In the 1890s, the city replaced its vintage water pumping station with impressive structure at mid-canal that is still used by the city of Augusta today. As the electric age started to dawn, Augusta started to turn the canal's dropping water power to propel the first lifetime equipment. By 1892, Augusta boasted both electric streetcars and street lights — the first Southern city to have these amenities.

20th Century

Flooding became a large-scale problem in Augusta throughout the early 20th century. Following foremost floods in the 1920s and 1930s, the Federal Works Progress Administration deployed hundreds of workers to make repairs and improvements, construct a new spillway and to straighten the canal.

By the mid-twentieth century, the canal came into a period of neglect. Textile factories started to close and the city's industrial activity started to shift south of the city.At one point in the 1960s, city officials considered draining the canal to construct a superhighway.


In May 1845 work started on twelve sections simultaneously. The initial workers were white laborers from those parts of Georgia served by the Georgia Railroad; although, the summer's ...
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