South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Columbia Canal, Richland County (E. bank of the Broad & Congaree Rivers, Columbia)
S1081774003201 S1081774003202 S1081774003203 S1081774003204 S1081774003205
Aerial View Aerial View Aerial View Aerial View Diversion Dam
S1081774003206 S1081774003207 S1081774003208 S1081774003209 S1081774003210
Guard Lock Lock Detail 1824 Waste Weir Waste Weir 1894 Power
Plant Ruins
S1081774003211 S1081774003212 S1081774003213 S1081774003214 S1081774003215
1896 Power
Power Station Water Works Old Water Works Old Water Works

The Columbia Canal has played an important role in the commercial and industrial development of Columbia. Historically significant for its influence on the city’s growth, the Columbia Canal is also a notable example of the engineering expertise of the nineteenth century. Completed in 1824, the canal was designed to enable the navigation of the Broad and Congaree Rivers at their confluence in Columbia. It was part of the state-sponsored system of internal improvements designed to create inexpensive and efficient transportation facilities across South Carolina. Although its importance as a means of transportation significantly decreased after the arrival of the railroad in Columbia in 1842, the canal continued to be used for local commerce and provided water power for small industries. The Columbia Canal was the only canal project in the state that remained in use after the advent of the railroad. During the Civil War a portion of the canal was leased to the Confederate government. After the War, the canal passed through several owners before reverting to the state. In 1888, as part of the post-Civil War movement to industrialize the South, the State of South Carolina decided to enlarge the canal as a means of providing a power source to aid in the industrial development of Columbia. The enlarged canal was completed in 1891. The canal subsequently served as an impetus to the establishment of mills and factories in Columbia, thereby playing an important role in the growth of the city. In addition, the Columbia Canal was the site of one of the first power houses in the nation to utilize hydroelectric power to drive a large textile mill. Since its completion in 1891 the Columbia Canal has continuously served as a major power source for the city of Columbia. Listed in the National Register January 15, 1979.

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