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A. S. Williams III Americana Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Valley Creek Canal, West Jefferson County, Alabama, reports W.0065

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Publication:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266
205.348.0500
archives@ua.edu

January 2014

Creation:

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-01-24T18:02-0600

Language Usage:

English

Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

Valley Creek Canal, West Jefferson County, Alabama, reports

Unit ID:

W.0065

Repository:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Quantity:

0.05 Linear feet

Dates:

1917-1943

Location:

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Abstract:

Two reports on a proposed canal project on the Valley and Warrior Rivers in Jefferson County, Alabama.

creator

Bowron, James, 1844-1928

creator

Williams, A. S., III

Access Restrictions:

None

Acquisition Information:

Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010

Preferred Citation:

Valley Creek Canal, West Jefferson County, Alabama, reports, The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains two reports on a proposed canal project on the Valley River and Warrior River in Jefferson County, Alabama. A proposal written in 1943 discusses shipping costs on railroads and lists the commodities shipped by barge from Birmingham to Mobile and New Orleans. This report also includes a proposal written in 1917 by Gulf States Steel Company president James Bowron related to canal construction and maps of the proposed canal site. A second report was written in 1917 by the Valley River Canal Committee and presented to United States Army division engineer Colonel J. C. Sanford.

General note

Title on phase box spine: Bowron and Weller's proposals for Valley Creek Canal, West Jefferson County

Processing Information:

Processed by

Haley Aaron and Martha Bace, 2013

Related Archival Materials note

There are other materials in the A. S. Williams III Americana Collection that relate to the building of canals in Alabama and in other areas. Please see staff for assistance.

Biographical/Historical note

During the first half of the twentieth century, in an effort to circumvent the northern railroad and financial moguls holding the Birmingham (Alabama) industrial district hostage, Birmingham's leaders repeatedly attempted to get the Army Corps of Engineers and the federal government to build a canal from the Warrior River to Birmingham. Birmingport, on the Warrior River, is approximately twelve miles in a straight line from Birmingham's industrial center. The railroad line running between the two cities meanders seventy miles around the many hills separating the river from the two cities.

Birmingham leaders selected Henry L. Badham Jr., president of the Bessemer Coal, Iron, and Land Company, to testify in support of the canal before the Corps of Engineers. In a 2500-word presentation, which included supporting engineering studies, maps, and canal elevation profiles, Badham covered the benefits of the canal in regards to civilian job increases, greatly expanded manufacturing with new industries, and trade to the district, the South, and the rest of the United States. The affected land owners of the Birmingham district offered to donate the land for the canal right of ways.

The Corps of Engineers--after consultation with their political masters--decided that "the improvement would place Bessemer on a direct inland water route, but the cost would be entirely incommensurate with the anticipated benefits."

Source: Tom Badham, "The Valley Creek - Bessemer Canal, That Never Was," Jefferson County Historical Association Newsletter no. 4 (October 2013): 2, http://www.jeffcohistory.com/newsletter_Oct_13_pg2.html.

Source(s)

Williams, A. S., III (local)

Business records (lcsh)

Canals (lcsh)

Jefferson County (Ala.) (lcsh)

Maps (aat)

Rivers (lcsh)

Technology and Industry (localbroad)

Valley Canal Report, 1943 Box W0065.01 Folder 1

Valley River Canal Committee Report, 1917 Box W0065.01 Folder 2