United States. Inland Waterways Commission.

Preliminary report of the Inland Waterways Commission. Message from the President transmitting a preliminary report online

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and Erie, connecting Toledo and Cincinnati, but does not now enter
Ohio river. This canal has two feeders, one of which possesses some
local importance. The total length of this canal is 244 miles.



190 REPOET OF THE INLAND WATERWAYS COMMISSION

Illinois Canals

The Illinois and JVIichigan Canal extends from Chicago to La Salle
on the Illinois River and is 96 miles long. At La Salle the canal
connects with the Illinois River through what is known as the "steam-
boat channel," a cut about half a mUe long. Through its connection
with the Illinois River, traffic can pass from Chicago to the Missis-
sippi River at Grafton and thence to the Gulf of Mexico. The other
State ca lal in Illinois is the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, run-
ning froj " Chicago to Lockport, 111., 28 miles. The immediate object
of this work is to protect tne waters of Lake Michigan from sewage
pollution. The water was turned into the main channel in January,
1900. The projectors of this canal have contemplated that even-
tually it will form part of a great ship canal connecting the Lakes
with the Mississippi.

Louisiana State Canal

The only State canal in Louisiana is the New Basin Canal, origi-
nall}^ owned by the New Orleans Canal and Banking Company. In
1866 the canal reverted to the State. This canal is 7 miles in length
and extends from Lake Pontchartrain to a point in the city of New
Orleans, but it does not connect with the Mississippi.

LOCATION OF PRIVATE CANALS

Atlantic Coast System

With the exception of two unimportant canals in Louisiana all
private canals in the United States are owned by corporations.
The eastern group of these private canals may be classified under
the general title of the ''Atlantic Coast system of private canals."
With but few exceptions they were all constructed before the out-
break of the ci\dl war under charters granted by State legislatures,
and either because of their control by railroads or by reason of a
failure to maintain improvements, they are for the most part of
declining importance and exert little, if any, appreciable influence
on freight rates.

Of the 1 1 private canals composing the Atlantic Coast system, two —
the Morris and the Delaware and Raritan — cross the State of New
Jersey. The former has been practically abandoned, and transpor-
tation over the latter appears to be discouraged, by its lessee, the
Pennsylvania Railroad. At one time in their history both these New
Jersey canals played an important part in the transportation of coal
to tidewater.

Of the elaborate system of canals constructed in Pennsylvania
there remain the Lehigh Canal and the Delaware Division Canal.
The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, the owner of the Lehigh
Canal, also leases the Delaware Division Canal, but neither waterway
possesses the importance it formerly occupied as a means of trans-
porting coal to tidewater. The remaining privately owned inland
waterway of Pennsylvania is the Schuylkill Navigation, partly
canals and partly slack-water navigation in the Schuylkill River,
operated by a private corporation entitled ''The President, Managers
and Company of the Schuylkill Navigation," which is empowered to



CANALS IN THE UNITED STATES 191

collect tolls. As shown by the schedule of this company, received
by the Bureau of Corporations, practically all of its capital stock is
owned by the Reading Company.

The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, about 14 miles in length,
connects the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay, and forms an
important "inside" water route between the North and South. In
1907 the War Department, on the recommendation of a Congres-
sional commission, advised the purchase of this canal by the Gov-
ernment.

The historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, with which the name of
George Washington is closel}^ associated, extends from Georgetown,
D. C.,to Cumberland, Md., 185 miles. It is now controlled by the
Baltimore and Ohio and Western Maryland Railroads, although the
Government owns a considerable amount of stock in the canal com-
pany. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal has lost much of its former
importance, being now used mainly by a coal company and its sub-
sidiary towing concern.

The four canals in Virginia and North Carolina are so closely con-
nected that they may be considered together. All are owned by
private companies, and so far as the Bureau of Corporations has been
able to learn none of them is owned by railroads. These canals are
as follows :

The Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal connects Chesapeake Bay
with Albemarle Sound and forms part of a through waterway about 68
miles long, composed of Elizabeth River, the Virginia and North Caro-
lina cuts of the canal, North Landing River, Currituck Sound, Coan-
jock Bay, Upper North River, and Lower North River. The canal
proper is 14 miles in length.

The Dismal Swamp Canal, an old waterway, is fed from Lake
Drummond and passes through what was originally the Dismal Swamp,
from which a large tract of land has been reclaimed by drainage. The
canal proper is about 22 miles long, 14 of which are in the State of
Virginia and 8 miles in North Carolina. The Dismal Swamp Canal
connects the Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound, forming part of a
through waterway about 67 miles long, composed of Elizabeth River,
Deep Creek, Dismal Swamp Canal, Turners Cut, Upper Pasquotank
and Lower Pasquotank rivers.

The Fairfield Canal, 4 miles in length, and the Newbern and Beau-
fort Canal (formerly the Clubfoot and Harlowe Canal), about 3 miles
long, are both unimportant local waterways. The Fairfield Canal
connects the Alligator River and Mattamuskeet Lake, while the New-
bern and Beaufort Canal connects Clubfoot Creek and Harlowe Creek,
forming part of a waterway about 39 miles long between Newbern and
Beaufort, N. C, composed of Neuse River, Clubfoot Creek, the canal,
and Harlowe Creek and Newbern River. The Newbern and Beaufort
Canal is owned by the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal Company,
which is also interested in the Fairfield Canal.

Louisiana System

The four private canals of Louisiana that are of sufficient importance
to warrant mention in this connection radiate from points in or near
New Orleans. Two connect Mississippi River with other natural
waterways. None of them is over 7 miles in length, although several
of them, in conjunction with natural waterways, afford routes several



192 EEPOKT OF THE INLAND WATERWAYS COMMISSION

miles longer. There are a number of other very short canals in Louisi-
ana, but they are of a purely local character. The four principal pri-
vate canals of Louisiana are the Carondelet (Old Basin), connecting
the city of New Orleans and I^ake Pontchartrain by means of a
waterway composed of the canal and Bayou St. John; Lake Borgne
Canal connecting Lake Borgne and the Mississippi River; the
Barataria and La Fourche (Company) Canal, connecting the Miss-
issippi River and various interior streams and projected to Morgan
City; and the Harvey Canal, running from the Mississippi River to
Bayou Barataria. Of these four canals the Barataria and La Fourche
Canal and the Harvey Canal are owned by private individuals. The
other two private canals are owned, respectively, by the Carondelet
Canal and Navigation Compan}^ and the Lake Borgne Canal Company.

Other Canals

The Oregon Citj^ locks, situated on the WUlamette River between
Oregon City and Portland, were formerly owned by the defunct Wil-
lamette Falls Canal and Locks Company. This improvement is now
o•v^^led by the Portland General Electric Company. The toll collector
is jointly paid by the General Electric Company and the Oregon Rail-
road and Navigation Company (Southern Pacific), pointing both to
the use of the canal as a water power and its possible control by a
railroad.

The Cape Cod Canal, now in course of construction, will shorten
the distance between Boston and New York, and is expected to
increase the importance now attached to the present Atlantic Coast
system of private canals.

STATISTICS OF CANALS IN OPERATION

Detailed statistics of canals are set forth in the follomng tables,
entitled respectively '' Government canals," ''State canals m oper-
ation," and " Private canals in operation." These statistics have been
compiled from various sources, including the reports of the United
States Engineers, the reports of the United States Census, and informa-
tion furnished directly to the Bureau of Corporations. The data
from different sources was often conflicting; and while much care
has been exercised in selecting the latest reliable statements it is
possible that some errors ma}^ be found.

Some variations will be noticed in the data for the different groups
of canals. But as far as possible the tables show the location of the
canals, the principal dimensions of the canals and locks, the period
of navigation and the traffic for selected years. The total expenditures
or the cost of construction and improvements are shown as far as
the figures are available; and in the case of most of the private canals
further information as to capitalization, receipts, and expenses are
given. In all of the tables the last column of "Remarks" sets forth
important facts concerniag the various canals.

As shown by the tables there are 17 Government canals aggregat-
ing 194.49 miles in length, 12 State canals aggregating 1,358.98 miles,
and 16 private canals aggregating 635.58 miles; a total of 45 canals
with a length of 2,189.05 miles.



CANALS IN THE UNITED STATES



193






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donated to lUinois 300,000
acres of land for canal pur-
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REPOET OF THE INLAND WATERWAYS COMMISSION



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212, 872
208, 334
72, 195
249, 451
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413,382




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182,343

78,854

« 139, 189

e 219,388

48, 062




83, .3.55

61, 152

81,316

149,509

1,401,431

344, 428

169,952












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$268,564

298,937

167, 411

52,070

96,231

86, 155

481,119

344, 308

187, 520

f 83, 088

/ 44.640

/■94,848

/ 55, 487

388, 914

353, 782

/ 274, 024

349, 650

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204 REPORT OF THE INLAND WATERWAYS COMMISSION

ABANDONED CANALS

The extent to which State and private canals have been abandoned
is strikingly shown by the Census Reports of 1880 and 1890. The
report of 1880 shows that out of 4,468.60 miles of canals, costing
approximately $214,041,802, 1,953.56 miles, representing a cost esti-
mated at $44,013,166, had up to that time been abandoned. By
1889 the mileage so abandoned, as given in the Census report, had
increased to 2,215.25 miles, or about half the total mileage originally
built, representing a cost estimated at $51,171,016.^

Among the causes assigned for this wholesale abandonment of
canals are the crisis of 1837, which put a stop to speculative canal
building, the inability of some canals to compete with modern rail-
roads and the mismanagement of other canals, together with a popular
impression that such systems of public works had done more harm
than good, and, finally, a belief that the chief means of internal com-
munication was not to be water but rail.''

Since 1889 other important canals and sections of canals, both pri-
vate and State, have fallen into disuse, including the Delaware and
Hudson, in Pennsylvania and New York, important portions of the
Pennsylvania system of public works, operated for some years by
their purchaser, the Pennsylvania Railroad ; the Santa Fe in Florida,
and the Socola Canal in Louisiana in 1906. Assuming that the
Census figures approximately reflect this tendency toward abandon-
ment the total mileao;e abandoned brought down to date, as shown in
the accompanving table, is 2,444.26 miles, representing a cost approxi-
mated at $81, 'l 71, 374.

The location of these canals, together with other facts connected
with their construction and operation, are generally indicated in the
accompanying table, entitled " Important abandoned canals in the
United States."

This table is divided into 8 columns. In the first column appears
the name of the State where the abandoned canal was situated. In
the second column is given the name of the abandoned canal, and in
the third the points originally connected by the abandoned canal.
Succeeding columns show the date of the construction of the canal,
the date of its abandonment, its original length in miles and the cost



Online LibraryUnited States. Inland Waterways CommissionPreliminary report of the Inland Waterways Commission. Message from the President transmitting a preliminary report → online text (page 19 of 83)