Old Savannah Ogeechee Canal

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A sample of a lock

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Savannah-Ogeechee Barge Canal is one of the prime relics in the history of southern canals. Beginning with the tidal lock at the Savannah River, the waterway continues through four lift locks as it traverses 16.5 miles before reaching another tidal lock at the Ogeechee River.

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Equipment needed to maintain the canal

The Savannah-Ogeechee Canal was constructed between 1826 and 1830 by African and Irish laborers who moved thousands of cubic yards of earth. A boon to Georgia’s economy, the canal moved cotton, rice, bricks, and natural fertilizer.

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Lock #5, or whats left of it, just before the Ogeechee River

A nearby historical marker reads:

THE 15TH CORPS AT THE SAVANNAH AND OGEECHEE CANAL

On Dec. 6 1864, the 15th Corps [US], Maj. Gen. P. J. Osterhaus, USA, the extreme right of Gen. Sherman’s army on its destructive March to the Sea, forced a crossing of Great Ogeechee River at Jenk’s Bridge (US 80 east of Blitchton) and drove the Confederate defenders toward Savannah. Corse’s division crossed and occupied Eden. Smith’s division remained on the west bank with the corps trains. With Hazen’s and Woods’ divisions, Osterhaus moved down the west bank, Hazen to take the bridge over Canoochee River east of Bryan Court House (Clyde), Woods to prepare crossings over the Ogeechee at Fort Argyle (1 mile W. across the river) and on the charred ruins of Dillon’s bridge, at the mouth of this canal.

On the 8th, Corse moved down the east bank to this point and found the bridge over the canal in flames. He rebuilt it, then camped here for the night. On the 9th, Smith arrived with the corps trains. Corse moved forward to the Darien road (US 17), defeated a small Confederate force entrenched astride both roads, and drove it toward Savannah. On the 10th, Corse moved north of Little Ogeechee River followed by Hazen who, having secured the bridge over the Canoochee, had crossed the Ogeechee at Dillon’s Bridge. Smith moved north along the canal, followed by Woods who had crossed the Ogeechee at Fort Argyle. That night, Corse, Woods and Smith were in line facing the strong Confederate works along Salt Creek, with Hazen in reserve at the Little Ogeechee.

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Ogeechee River

The lumber industry revived canal usage following a Civil War-era lull, but a yellow fever epidemic blamed on the canal caused a further decline. The canal closed in the early 1890s as the Central of Georgia Railroad served transportation needs. Beginning at the Savannah River, the canal comprises six locks and 16.5 miles, ending at the Ogeechee River.

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Oreo likes to be the leader. He often looks back at me, surely thinking this pink ape is ‘Givin it all she’s got”* when it comes to speed.

When it comes to size, this canal is not very large. Not with the size of canals built today.  I’d say it is about 12 feet wide here. The barges must have not been wide, however guessing they were just plentiful.

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Tree knees. What? Yup, tree knees. The little ant-hill like humps coming up from the water are called knees. These are produced by trees that grow in water filled areas. All tree roots need oxygen at varying levels. Water species compensate their water-logged roots with this special root growth that ‘comes up for air’ so to speak. And here you thought they were called knees because they are about that hieght and you bash your knees on them! HaHa!!

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True to it’s name, there was Holly on the trail!

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There was a small amount of damage from the recent hurricane that came through. The wooden path was busted-up a bit, however not impassible to a limber person.

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Edible Cladonia evansii: What’s not to lichen? Haha! Its common name is Deer Moss and deer love eating it. Its not exactly ready-to-eat for humans, it needs some preparation. It is very high in carbs tho!

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We walked from wetland forest to a sandy palm area. I’m not familiar with the geology here, however it was fascinating!

  • Star Trek – Scottie 😉 Didja get that Scifi?

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

28 thoughts on “Old Savannah Ogeechee Canal

  1. thanks for a wonderful tour… I love such old canals, we often walk along the one in our are and imagine how it looked as it was “the road” to brittany… btw: the tree looks interesting… a little like the equipment we have in a bathroom LOL

    Like

    • We saw cars parked, but never came across the people. There were some damaged parts of the wood walk that may have made them turn back. Not us tho! 😉
      It’s a double edged sword… we love it when we are alone on trails, why we chose weekdays over weekends to go. However, if they stay empty too long, funding will be lost and these places may disappear. 😟

      Liked by 1 person

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