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The Roanoke Navigation Company completed the canal and locks at Weldon along the Roanoke River in 1834. Much of the work was done in the years 1819-1823. The canal consisted of three major parts: the lower 100-mile-long section of the Roanoke River; a nine-mile-long series of locks and waterways at Weldon; and the upper 300-mile-long stretch of rivers and streams extending into Virginia.
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Traffic on the canal was considerable for a short period. In 1835, the first full years of operation, 6,877 hogsheads of tobacco, 10,646 barrels of flour, and other merchandise passed through the canal. Its prosperity was short lived. By 1840 traffic slowed to the point where it was hardly profitable to keep it open. By 1860 only a few barges were still in operation.
The Chockoyotte Creek Aqueduct in Weldon is the architectural gem of the canal and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In recent years a walking trail has been developed along the course of the canal.
Peggy Jo Cobb Braswell, The Roanoke Canal: A History of the Old Navigation and Water Power Canal of Halifax County, North Carolina (1987)
“Reflections on the Roanoke Canal,” American Canals: Bulletin of the American Canal Society (February 1976)
William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)
Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail website: http://www.roanokecanal.com/