About This Project
The Augusta Canal, originally constructed in 1845 and enlarged in 1875, was built to serve multiple purposes: transportation, water supply and water power. The Canal’s natural and man-made settings dramatically illustrate how the city’s location, at the junction of the Piedmont Plateau and the Coastal Plain, enable it to evolve from its 1736 beginnings as a strategic frontier trading outpost into a major economic center of the South in the later 19th Century (The Augusta Canal. National Heritage Area Management Plan. October 1999).
The Big Idea: Renovate the empty downtown mills for current use. Restore usage of the 3rd level of the Augusta Canal.
Details: Three of the most important mills along the Canal were located in the central downtown core.
- Enterprise Mill – Enterprise Mill was built in two stages. The first stage was complete in 1848 and was known as Coleman’s Flour Mill or Coleman’s Granite Mill. In 1877, the 2nd stage of the Mill, the brick structure, was completed. The Mill was so successful that it spurred the construction of four more cotton mills along the Augusta Canal. The Mill shut-down in 1983 and was vacant until 1997 when an Augusta businessman purchased the mill and completed extensive renovations and reopened the Mill in 1998. However, the Granite Mill portion of the building was not renovated. The Mill was subsequently sold.
- Granite Mill Renovation – In 2012, the Granite Mill portion was restored to a LEED Gold standard.
- Sutherland Mill – This 50,000-square-foot mill opened in 1887 as one of 23 mills that used Augusta Canal water to power its looms and industrial machines. Empty for many years, the Mill was renovated in 2007-2008 by an Augusta businessman and is home to medical offices.
- Sibley Mill – In 2016, two businessmen purchased Sibley Mill with a plan to turn this 19th century textile mill into a 21st century technology park. In 2017, EDTS (now Corsica Technologies), an Augusta-based information technology and cyber security firm moved into the the Sibley Mill.
- King Mill – The company redeveloping Sibley Mill acquired the adjacent King Mill in 2018 to develop into market-rate apartments and retail space.
Progress: Enterprise Mill is renovated. Granite Mill is renovated. Sutherland Mill is renovated. Sibley Mill is in the middle of renovations. King Mill residential development has not yet started.
The Augusta Canal Authority continues to work on the 3rd Level of the Augusta Canal to make it a usable amenity for downtown residents.