A Visit to the Augusta Canal Discovery Center – An Education on Augusta’s Industrial History

Augusta, GA – The other museum I visited during my trip to Augusta this past weekend was the Augusta Canal Discovery Center. Not far from the Augusta Museum of History, the Discovery Center focuses on the Augusta Canal and its impact on the industrialization of the Augusta area. The Discovery Center is the museum and hub for the Augusta Canal National Heritage area; it features an interactive museum on the canal and the Enterprise Mill, the former textile mill in which its located. You can also purchase canal boat tour tickets at the Discovery Center, but to be honest, it was just too hot his weekend for me to have enjoyed one; I’ll definitely return in cooler weather to take one, though.

The August Canal Discovery Center is located in what was once the Enterprise Mill, a textile mill located along the Augusta Canal near downtown Augusta
A look up the Augusta Canal from the Augusta Canal Discovery Center
An early industrial loom like one that would have been used in one of Augusta’s textile mills, it would have been powered from an overhead shaft driven by water flow from the Augusta Canal (you can see the belt going up to the ceiling behind the worker)
A more modern loom like one that would have been used in Augusta’s mills when they switched to electricity provided by hydroelectric plants which generated electricity from the flow of the Augusta Canal.

I learned a lot about the industrialization of Augusta at the Discovery Center. A couple of months ago, I read Daniel Walker Howe’s What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848, which mentioned Lowell, MA as a leading example of industrialization in the United States; here I learned that the Augusta Canal was built on Lowell’s example with the goal of bringing industry to Augusta. The canal was built as more than just a transportation artery; it was also intended to provide both drinking water and power. The power it provided did bring mills and factories to Augusta, making one of the south’s few manufacturing centers at the onset of the Civil War and enabled Augusta to thrive due to industry after the war.



Categories: Augusta, History, Photos

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