Santee Canal

NE of Moncks Corner, Moncks Corner, South Carolina


Santee Canal, Lock #1

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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The Santee Canal was constructed between 1793 and 1800 under the direction of Col. John Christian Senf, South Carolina State Engineer. Conceived to provide a shorter, safer water route from inland South Carolina to Charleston, the canal was one of the earliest important canals in the United States and perhaps the earliest major internal improvement project in the state. Originally intended as a delivery route for foodstuffs, the advent of successful cotton production made the canal more useful for transporting cotton bales. In 1830, during its most prosperous period, 720 boats arrived in Charleston bearing about 70,000 bales of cotton via the canal. The canal route was twenty-two miles long, beginning two miles below Greenwood Swamp on the Santee River and entering the Cooper River at Stoney Landing, approximately two miles east of Moncks Corner. The canal was thirty-five feet wide at the top and five and one half feet deep, sloping to a bottom width of twenty feet. With the exception of a wooden tidal lock, all the locks were made of brick and stone. In addition to the canal itself, there were several warehouses, keepersí houses, and other ancillary buildings along the route. All associated outbuildings, turning basins, lock bridges and the wooden lock have been destroyed. The towpaths are visible for large parts of the canal. The remains of the canal are overgrown with vegetation and are rapidly deteriorating. Listed in the National Register May 5, 1982. - SCDAH

Most of the canal is currently under the waters of Lake Moultrie.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 5, 1982
Reference number
Areas of significance
Commerce; Engineering; Transportation
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Periods of significance
1850-1874; 1800-1824; 1750-1799
Significant years
1793; 1800; 1855
Number of properties
Contributing structures: 5
Non-contributing structures: 4

Update Log 

  • August 18, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • July 8, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description"