Waterway to the West
- A History of the James River & Kanawha Canal
This is the first time we have been able to offer this material in about 30 years!
This 32-page fully illustrated booklet was issued by the Eastern National Parks & Monuments Association in 1963 and was sold in National Park Service visitor centers for many years.
It is a very well done concise yet complete and easy-to-understand history of the JR&K Canal. Incorporated in 1785 with George Washington as its first president, the canal eventually reached Buchanan, Virginia, when the coming of the Civil War stopped construction. After the war the age of the canal was over and the railways dominated.
The canal was supplanted by the Richmond & Alleghany Railway, built along its route and tow-path from Richmond to Clifton Forge and a junction with C&O. The R&A was purchased and merged into C&O in 1890 and has served since as its James River Line for coal to the sea.
Because of Washington’s connection, the C&O PR people began calling him “C&O’s First President,” and C&O “George Washington’s Railroad.”
The booklet has maps, woodcuts, and other illustrations that tell the story of the canal in the antebellum days.
C&OHS sold these when they were surplus from the Park Service in the late 1980s but they are long gone. Now, we have scanned one and we are making it available again, in digital or print format.