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monsoon

South Carolina Canals

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Though I have lived most of my life in the Carolinas, I just found out today there once was a system of manmade canals that existed in South Carolina, that allowed for the relatively quick movement of cotton to the port in Charleston. This was a fairly ingenious system that included locks, diversion channels, dams and even a few canal bridges. Until know I did not know there were shipping canals in SC.

Apparently there is a SC State Park called Landsford Canal State Park that is centered around one of the few remaining examples of these canals. My question is does someone here have more information on the makeup of this system and/or have you been to this park? (what was it like)

Thanks

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Though I have lived most of my life in the Carolinas, I just found out today there once was a system of manmade canals that existed in South Carolina, that allowed for the relatively quick movement of cotton to the port in Charleston.

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The canals were built to give Charleston some leverage with competing ports. Most port cities like Jacksonville, Savannah, Norfolk, New York, and New Orleans have significant rivers that extend far inland. The Ashley and Cooper Rivers in Charleston are both tidal rivers, which do not extend very far inland. The canals did connect Columbia to Charleston. If I recall correctly it shaved about 2 or 3 days off of the trip down.

The canal that exists in Columbia was actually not a part of that system. Its purpose was to allow barges to pass the rapids at the confluence of the Broad and Saluda Rivers.

The system could be navigable today, though it would likely involve some extensive portaging. Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie cover up alot of it. It looks like they are connected by a former section of the canal.

Canals_02_lakes.jpg

You can see it at Old Santee Canal Park in Monck's Corner.

Canals_SanteeCooper.jpg

"The 22-mile Santee Canal, with a series of 10 locks, was constructed between 1793 and 1800 and operated for 50 years, providing a waterway of commerce for the transport of goods from South Carolina's Upcountry to the port of Charleston"

And on US-52 near St. Stephens, near the Berkeley/Williamsburg County line:

Canals_01_StStephens.jpg

The system went as far inland as Rock Hill. Remnents of it can still be seen in between Rock Hill and Lancaster on the Catawba River at Landsford Canal State Park. You can also see it in Great Falls in Chester County.

Canals_LandsfordStPk.jpg

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Thanks for the info. Spartan there is a modern canal system and lock which allows shipping to occur between Columbia and Charleston harbor. It consists of the Congaree river, Lake Marion, the diversion canal (shown above) Lake Moultrie, and the big lock at Pineopolis which drops shipping to close to sea level. From there you take the Santee river to Charleston. BTW, the Pineopolis lock was the highest modern lock in the world when built.

My question was mainly referring to the canals that existed in SC prior to 1900. The type of system where barges were pulled by people and animals. Does anyone have more info on that?

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Lansford Canal was never officially used, it was abandoned by the time that it appeared unfeasible to finish construction. But much of it was developed & is quite a site, it makes a great state park, one of the state's most interesting in my view. The canal would have provided a route for traders in the Waxhaws / Catawba reservation and for the village of Charlotte NC to access the port in Charleston. This was significant because this area was a major trading point providing contact to the Cherokees & the interior west as well as the developing Scott-Irish along the route that spanned from Pennsylvania into South Carolina.

Now is probably the time to go to Landsford, off of Hwy 21 south of Rock Hill - later it will be inundated with mosquitos.

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Thanks for the info.  Spartan there is a modern canal system and lock which allows shipping to occur between Columbia and Charleston harbor. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Perhaps, but I seriously doubt anyone uses it for anything but recreational purposes. You can get to Charleston much faster by rail these days. I'll see if I can dig up anything on the old canal system that you are referring to.

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Lansford Canal was never officially used, it was abandoned by the time that it appeared unfeasible to finish construction.  But much of it was developed & is quite a site, it makes a great state park, one of the state's most interesting in my view.  The canal would have provided a route for traders in the Waxhaws / Catawba reservation and for the village of Charlotte NC to access the port in Charleston.  This was significant because this area was a major trading point providing contact to the Cherokees & the interior west as well as the developing Scott-Irish along the route that spanned from Pennsylvania into South Carolina.

Now is probably the time to go to Landsford, off of Hwy 21 south of Rock Hill - later it will be inundated with mosquitos.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree that it is a very interesting state park, but the information that I've seen about it says it was functonal (maybe I just mis-interperted it?). There is a trail that runs next to the canal with several information boards along the way. The lock chambers are still in pretty decent condition. Landsford Canal SP is well worth going to just for the history lesson, but in late May the rocky shoals spider lilies are in bloom on the Catawba River.

post-1667-1113145382_thumb.jpg

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post-1667-1113145426_thumb.jpg

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^ Well, I am quite often wrong - so that information may be correct. Nonetheless, if it was functional, it wasn't for a long period of time...

Nice pictures, again though - now is the time to walk down the trail, in a few months it will be miserable (mosquitos, humidity, Chester County locals) ;)

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