"C" is for Columbia Canal

Oct 9, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

"C" is for Columbia Canal. Completed in 1824, the Columbia Canal—originally three miles long--was located on the east bank of the Congaree River, near the junction of the Broad and Saluda Rivers. It was one of several canals constructed by the state of South Carolina to improve transportation links between the upstate and Charleston. The Confederate government used the canal to run powder works. While its usefulness as a transportation source declined (because of the railroad), the canal had excellent prospects for generating power. A sawmill, water pumping station, and gristmill all used the canal as a power source. In 1896, an electric powerhouse built in 1894 was rebuilt. At the end of the twentieth century the Columbia Canal hydroelectric plant still produced fifty thousand megawatts of electricity per year.