Chesapeake, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Iron Titans Tame the Marsh?
By 1850, larger steam driven commercial carriers needed a faster, deeper and wider passage to market than the hand dug Dismal Swamp Canal, a few miles west of here. Digging the Dismal Swamp Canal, between 1793 and 1805, was filled with challenges. Manually dug by slave and indentured labor through snake-infested swamp land, the canal proved too narrow and shallow for steam powered vessels.
Steam power changed the face of America. The steam engine was adopted by industry, transportation and agriculture. In 1850, steam dredges, called “Iron Titans,” dug through tangles of roots and rock-hard cypress knees to build the deeper and wider Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal.
In 1859, the pony steamboat “Calypso” (pictured above) was the first vessel to navigate the new Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal.
Erected by Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Location. 36° 43.419′ N, 76° 14.813′ W. Marker is in Chesapeake, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Locks Road 0.6 miles west of North Battlefield Boulevard (Virginia Route 168), on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Located in Great Bridge Lock Park. Marker is in this post office area: Chesapeake VA 23320, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Liquid Highways (here, next to this marker); Why Build a Canal Here? (here, next to this marker); What is a Lock? (here, next to this marker); Bridging the Past with the Present (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Great Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome (within shouting distance of this marker); Village of Great Bridge (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Under Two Flags (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chesapeake.
More about this marker. On the right is a drawing entitled "Iron Titan" from "Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal" Harpers Monthly May 1860
Also see . . .
1. Great Bridge Lock Park - Chesapeake, VA. Gateways and Watertrails Network (Submitted on October 30, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Great Bridge Lock Park. City of Chesapeake (Submitted on October 30, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal Historic District (pdf file). National Register of Historic Places (Submitted on October 30, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Man-Made Features • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 30, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 646 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 30, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.