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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System

 
 
The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
1. The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System Marker
Inscription. Comprised of 47 locks, 20 dams, and 15 miles of canals, the Rappahannock Navigation System struggled from its beginnings. After suffering numerous construction delays due to financial problems, the heyday of canal commerce on the Rappahannock was cut short by the rise of railroads. Today, many of the system's remains are remarkably well preserved offering a glimpse into a bygone, albeit brief, era.

How a Canal Lock Works
Canal boat enters lock chamber
Gates close behind boat
To lower boat: sluices opened in downstream gate to let water out
To raise boat: sluices opened in upstream gate to let water in
Gates opened allowing boat to float out to new level

Canal Boats of the Rappahannock
Construction:
shallow-draft barges made of oak, known as Batteaux
Size: up to 65 ft long and 9 ft, 9 in wide
Cargo: corn, oats, wheat, salt fish, fertilizer, whiskey, lumber, and household goods
Propulsion: poles and oars
Crew: typically two men
Capacity: up to 2 tons

(Timeline):
1792 The Rappahannock Navigation Co. is established with the goal of providing a passage along the Rappahannock River that would facilitate trade West of Fredericksburg.
1816 The Rappahannock Navigation Co.
How a Canal Lock Works image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
2. How a Canal Lock Works
public stock sale is held but construction does not begin at this time because of financial constraints.
1829-1844 Residents of Fredericksburg come to the aid of the project when a chronic shortage of money allows for only parts of the canal system to be completed.
1829 Fredericksburg City Council raises enough capitol to commence the project and parade through the City is held to kick off excavation.
1845-1849 The Virginia legislature approves another loan for the canal and the system is completed.
1852 The end of the canal era is imminent with the competition from more efficient roads and railways.
1853 System is turned over to two farmers in hopes that they would maintain it, but the canal eventually ends up in ruins.
1855 Fredericksburg Water Power Co. buys the assets and converts the canal section in Fredericksburg from transportation to supplying power for mills.
Porch's Lock (Lock 5) Like many of the locks along the navigation system, Porch's Lock remains in excellent condition. this stone lock is located below Scott's Dam approximately 5 miles upstream from Mott's Run Landing.
 
Erected by Friends of the Rappahannock.
 
Location. 38° 18.823′ N, 77° 32.445′ W. Marker
Map of the Rappahannack River image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
3. Map of the Rappahannack River
is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from River Road 1.5 miles west of Bragg Road, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is located at the Public Boat Landing. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22404, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fraternizing at the Ford (approx. 0.8 miles away); 15th Regít. N. J. Volís (approx. 1.7 miles away); 23rd Regt., N. J. Vols. (approx. 1.8 miles away); Battle of Salem Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Salem Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); a different marker also named The Battle of Salem Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); From Church to Hospital (approx. 1.8 miles away); Refuge from Horror (approx. 1.8 miles away).
 
Categories. AgricultureIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
Beginning of Timeline image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
4. Beginning of Timeline
Timeline with Canal Boat Drawing image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
5. Timeline with Canal Boat Drawing
Timeline image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
6. Timeline
End of Timeline image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
7. End of Timeline
Map of the Rappahannack River image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
8. Map of the Rappahannack River
The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
9. The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System Marker
Bottom of Marker
Friends of the Rappahannock image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
10. Friends of the Rappahannock
The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
11. The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System Marker
Shown next to Mott's Run Marker. Boat ramp is off to the right.
The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System Marker and Mott's Run Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
12. The Rise & Fall of the Rappahannock Navigation System Marker and Mott's Run Marker
View looking east (downriver).
Boat Launch image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
13. Boat Launch
Boat Launch image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker, February 28, 2009
14. Boat Launch
View from the top of the boat ramp looking east (downriver).
Welcome to Mott's Run image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker
15. Welcome to Mott's Run
Informational marker nearby relates the rules and regulations for the waterway.
Back of Information Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kathy Walker
16. Back of Information Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,038 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on , by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia.   15, 16. submitted on , by Kathy Walker of Stafford, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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