Dismal Swamp Canal 2

Dock at the Visitor's Center

Corps of Engineers clearing the way

True, we didnīt run aground. Bob is young and full of enthusiasm. Like all Americans, we had met so far, he loves his country and is proud of the achievements of its people. We, being German and today more than that Europeans, felt estranged by this patriotism alligned with deeply rooted religious beliefs. At least in the beginning of our journey in the States, later we understood. Bob:" After overcoming initial difficulties, mainly lack of water and cash, commercial traffic started to thrive. Lumber from the Swamp, cotton and tobacco from NCīs plantations were being shipped to the deep water port of Norfolk. Public transport boomed. The Canalīs best years were between 1830 and 1860. In the Civil War between 1861 and 1865 it played a major role as a line of supply for the Confederates and was heavily fought over. But it was also severely and all the consecutive companies, trying to resuscitate it, failed for lack of money. In 1920 the Federal Government finally bought it for a symbolic price and declared it a National Heritage Monument. It was given over to the Navyīs Corps of Engineers for maintenance. But, today, the Canal doesnīt have any commercial traffic anymore, thereīs just a few pleasure boats coming through every once in a while. So who is gonna convince Washington, that we need money to keep up? Local politicians from North Carolina are doing a lot for us, but, I think, itīs just a question of time ītill theyīre gonna shut it down and Iīll be without a job."

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