The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area interprets the story of the coming of the Industrial Revolution to the American South. Built in 1845 as a source of power, water supply, and transportation, the Augusta Canal channeled the Savannah River to power cotton mills and other factories beginning in the late 1840s. During the Civil War, the Confederate Powder Works gunpowder manufacturing complex was built along the canal; many more textile plants and industries followed in the late 19th century.
Today the Augusta Canal is the only fully intact American industrial canal in continuous operation. Although none of the textile plants are still in operation, their hydroelectricity plants still operate to generate electric power using the canal’s water; in fact, Augusta’s municipal water system still draws from the canal. No longer a major industrial area, the waterway is now a popular recreation destination where visitors enjoy land and water trails for paddling, hiking, and cycling. The heritage area hosts guided history and nature tours on replica canal cargo boats, departing from the Augusta Canal Discovery Center, housed in a former textile mill.
This Heritage Area includes the following sites:
- The Fall Line and Headgates
- Augusta Canal Discovery Center
- Savannah Rapids Park and Visitor Information Center
- Columbia County’s Visitor Information Center
- Boat Tours
- Hike Trails