A Canal Defines Its Neighborhood

A Canal Defines Its Neighborhood (HM1SPT)

Location: Fredericksburg, VA 22401
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 18.507', W 77° 27.997'

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The canal in front of you, constructed in the 1830s, was part of a navigation system that extended 50 miles up the Rappahannock River. The downstream terminus was a turning basin, in the block to your right. Several industries were located nearby, some using the canal's navigation function and others its water power. In the 1880s, R.T. Knox and Brother converted a small mill to an electric generating plant, which began to make hydro-mechanical power obsolete.

With electricity now available, industries relocated away from the flood-prone waterways. To meet the new and growing demand, hydro-electric plants evolved to serve larger geographical areas. In 1910, the newly constructed Embry Power Plant provided electricity to the region, its turbines fed by water flowing through this canal. To maximize efficiency, the canal had been straightened and the turning basin filled in. A neighborhood rapidly developed, changing the nature of this area from industrial to residential.

This 1854 lithograph shows the nature of the area around the turning basin.

This contemporary map shows how the canal was rerouted to allow the turning basin to be filled in and reclaimed for other uses. The canal no longer accommodated navigation, but would continue to be a raceway.

This detail from an 1878
map depicts the size of the turning basin and shows several related buildings.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, June 20th, 2016 at 1:04pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 284332 N 4242917
Decimal Degrees38.30845000, -77.46661667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 18.507', W 77° 27.997'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 18' 30.42" N, 77° 27' 59.82" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Rappahannock Canal Path, Fredericksburg VA 22401, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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