The Augusta Canal helped power a Georgia city’s burgeoning textile industry

Monuments to the complicated history of the American South don’t just take the form of statues in city squares; they also include large-scale public works projects. A case in point is the Augusta Canal National Heritage Area, in Augusta, Georgia, established by the U.S. Congress to preserve the Augusta Canal and its environs. The Augusta region emerged in the 19th century as the South’s preeminent industrial zone and, briefly, a crucial cog in its production of supplies for the Civil War. But the canal site — including many large surviving textile mills — reveals a more complicated story. It

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