“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)

A Canal Defines Its Neighborhood

A Canal Defines Its Neighborhood Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 19, 2016
1. A Canal Defines Its Neighborhood Marker
Inscription. 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
Rappahannock Canal Path image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 19, 2016
2. Rappahannock Canal Path
map depicts the size of the turning basin and shows several related buildings.
Location. 38° 18.507′ N, 77° 27.997′ W. Marker is in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Fall Hill Avenue (Virginia Route 639) and Prince Edward Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located along the Rappahannock Canal Path. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water Powered Industries (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Rappahannock River Heritage Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); Religious Liberty (approx. 0.2 miles away); Col. George Eskridge Memorial Tree (approx. 0.2 miles away); Meditation Rock (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Canal Ditch: Battlefield Obstacle (approx. ¼ mile away); Historic Old Mill District (approx. ¼ mile away); Hydroelectricity Brings Changes to Fredericksburg (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fredericksburg.
Also see . . .  Old Marker at this Location. This marker replaced an older one at this location also titled “A Canal Defines Its Neighborhood” (Submitted on June 21, 2016.) 
Categories. Industry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 20, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 175 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 20, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
Paid Advertisement