The Upper Appomattox Navigation canal system was built between 1795 and 1850, connecting Petersburg with Appomattox valley farms as far away as Farmville (a distance of about 65 miles). It was built and operated mostly by black laborers. The canal ran into Petersburg between Commerce and Upper Appomattox Streets, roughly along the present railroad line. Wooden locks and mills were built along the canal. The canal basin, located near South Street, was the center for handling tobacco and produce brought in by bateaux, a flat bottomed, shallow boat, most often used to transport tobacco. The canal era ended with the expansion of the railroad system.
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Geographical and Contact Information
Commerce and Upper Appomattox Streets roughly along the present railroad line Petersburg, Virginia 23803
Cite this Page:
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Upper Appomatox Canal,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed May 28, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/451.