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Lockhart Canal – Lockhart, South Carolina


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The two-mile-long Lockhart Canal in the Union County town for which it was named was completed in 1823. Designed by noted architect Robert Mills, who served as the State Architect and Engineer for the South Carolina Board of Public Works from 1820 through 1830, it was part of an eight-canal system built in the 1820s to create a navigable water transportation route and make most of the state accessible by water. The Lockhart Canal consisted of seven locks – six lift locks and one guard lock – made of local granite.

Lockhart Mill

Peter Krenn of Rock Hill, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Despite the enthusiasm for the canal system in the early nineteenth century, the routes determined by the General Assembly were not efficient and thus were underused, causing most of the canals to close by 1838. Mills had recommended an inland navigational system between Columbia and Charleston, but the cost of such a system was more than the state wanted to spend, and Upstate canals were developed instead. The rise of the railroad system also siphoned business from the canals. The Lockhart Canal lasted longer than most, finally closing in 1849.

Lockhart Dam

Kathy Dickerson of Greenwood, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The canal diverts water from the Broad River, which runs adjacent to the waterway. When the textile boom arrived in South Carolina towards the end of the nineteenth century, the canal was re-cut and a dam was built to power a cotton mill that was established on land between the canal and the Broad River. The Lockhart Mill began operations in 1894, shortly after nearby Union Cotton Mills started producing textiles.

Lockhart Canal

Kathy Dickerson of Greenwood, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1912 the South Carolina legislature incorporated Lockhart Power, a hydroelectric power company that utilizes the canal and dam to supply electricity to the mill and community. Lockhart Power is an investor-owned company that continues to provide hydroelectric power to five Upstate counties – Union, Spartanburg, Chester, Cherokee, and York. In 1912 Lockhart Power planted 100 trees in its service area to commemorate its 100-year anniversary.

Lockhart Mill

Kathy Dickerson of Greenwood, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

While the canal is still in use as a source of hydroelectric power, Lockhart Mill closed in 1994 as textile production became increasingly outsourced to foreign countries. What remains of the mill are a tower, seen above, and the bridge, which crosses the canal to the mill site. The bridge, seen in the photo above the mill tower, is presently closed to all traffic, including pedestrians.

Lockhart Bridge

Kathy Dickerson of Greenwood, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on the Lockhart Canal


Contributor Peter Krenn says of his photo at the top of the page: “This is the old footbridge where the workers walked over the canal to go to work at the mill from Lockhart. The mill is long gone, but the smokestack remains.”

Add your own reflections here.


Lockhart Canal Info


Address: Canal Road, Lockhart, SC 29364
GPS Coordinates: 34.794661,-81.461137


Lockhart Canal Map




Lockhart Canal – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Lockhart Canal, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


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The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!







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