Thursday, April 4, 2013

A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR A CRUISE

Thursday, April 4 – Before we tell you about our cruise, we would like to wish our daughter, Kelly, a very Happy Birthday.

Dave and Kelly
dave and kelly

With the sun shining brightly in a wonder blue sky, it was a perfect day for a boat ride on the Augusta Heritage Canal. We were joined by Paul's brother, John and Karen, for the tour.

canal ride

We started the historic tour by walking through the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center and  viewing a short 10-minute film entitled "The Power of A Canal."

graniteville company

The Center tells the story of how a city used its waterways to reinvent itself and define its destiny.

petersburg boatman

Back in 1840, Augusta was in the mists of an economic depression and on the brink of losing much of its population. Something was needed to turn this mostly agrarian area into more productive region.

Spearheaded by native Augustan Henry H. Cumming, the Augusta Canal was built in 1845 as a source of power, water and transportation, the Augusta Canal is the only intact industrial canal in the American South in continuous use.

By 1847, a saw and grist mill and the Augusta Factory  were built…the first of many that would eventually line the Canal. Mr. Cumming came up with the idea of building a canal to divert water from the Savanna River to be used to power cotton mills. The canal was dug in a year and a half using mostly slave labor. Can't imagine men digging this canal by hand, amazing!

Augusta canal

Soon cotton mills began spring up along the canal. These became a great success and provided hundreds of jobs for people in the area. Augusta's population doubled in less than ten years.

weaver's job description

weaving machine

mills and boomtimes

Three of these mills remain today. All three are still producing electrical power using hydroelectric turbines. One is still in operation as a small finishing mill for cotton.

Also, stretching along two miles of the canal, the largest southern ammunition factory, America Powderworks, was built in 1880 to provide ammunition for the Confederate States during the Civil War. All that remains of that factory is the tall smoke stack. It is now a memorial to the thousands of lives lost during the war.

DSC04458

DSC04459

The canal ride is in electric boats (their batteries are charged from the turbines in the old cotton mills) built to resemble the old canal boats used to ship cotton along the canal in the mid-19th century. Each boat can hold about 50 people and has a captain and a historical guide on board. On board our boat today was the four of us and two other ladies with three small children. Nearly a private tour.

canal boat

The ride takes about an hour and consists of an enjoyable cruise several miles up the canal and back.

See that opening on the far right, that is where we had to carefully maneuver through.bridge

Only two inches on each side. Our captain did a great job in getting us through without any damage or loss of life.

opening

During the ride you pass three cotton mills, the munitions chimney, many of the historical spillways and dams used to keep the water in the canal, turtles, birds, and other wild life living in the waters of the canal.

Beautiful day for catching some rays.turtles

canal

Marsha had to ask the Captain if she could get a picture with him.
marsha driving boat

We really enjoyed our cruise and highly recommend it to others visiting the Augusta area.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!

11 comments:

  1. A different kind of tour for sure, but it looked very interesting! Loved the turtle shot...

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  2. We have never been to Augusta, so this post gave us a interesting view of its fascinating history. Can understand why you were so intrigued with the Weaver plaque. . . .

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  3. I love those kind of boat tours...just kinda drifting along and learning a bit of history too. Looks like fun. Great shot of the turtles.

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  4. They've dug out the canal that used to power the flour mills in Minneapolis and made a park around them. No boating in Mill Ruins Park canal, though. Just on the adjoining Mississippi River.

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  5. Your daughter(s) is beautiful.

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  6. Now that looks like a cruise I might enjoy. Sure looks like you were having fun. Any time I can learn the history of where we are, I enjoy that.

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  7. Happy Birthday, Kelly!!

    Thanks for the great boat tour and amazing pics!

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  8. Looks like a fun tour see the sites and learning some local history.
    Great pics too.

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  9. Happy birthday, Kelly!

    Now that Marsha is an experienced ship captain, I'm expecting to read that next she bought a boat! Looks like you're having great weather and taking your time heading north.

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  10. Two inches to spare? Reminds me of Needles Highway back in SD when we had but two inches to spare driving through one of those tunnels.

    Looks like a place we would love to visit. One of these days we do need to spend time in Georgia. You gave me the incentive.

    One question though - the place that was built in 1880 to supply the Civil War ...... can that be right? The War was in the early 1860's. Just curious.

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  11. Great canal tour...so much interesting history about Augusta! Thanks!

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Thanks for leaving us a comment. We enjoy reading them. Have a great day!