Now part of the 167-acre Riverfront Park, the Columbia Canal was constructed in 1824 by Abraham Blanding and continued to Senate Street, connecting to canals on the Broad and Saluda rivers. The canal was damaged by an 1840 flood and fell into disuse around 1845 due to the rise of the railroads and end of a state subsidy. Many plans were made over the years to restore this original stretch of the canal, but never came to fruition. In 1891, the canal was redesigned and opened as an industrial power source including a new diversion dam, an entry lock, and a waste weir. It currently ends at the Gervais Street Bridge.
This is the site of the worldÍs first electrically operated textile mill, called the Columbia Duck Mill (now remodeled to become the South Carolina State Museum). It also is home to the oldest hydroelectric plant in the state; it was built in 1906. The power plant is still operational.