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Published: Mar 31 2010
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Robert J. Kapsch
Robert J. Kapsch is a researcher and writer for the Center for Historic Engineering and Architecture. Previously he served as senior scholar in historic architecture and engineering for the National Park Service, as project engineer for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, and as chief of the Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record. Kapsch was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award of the U.S. Department of Interior, for his work at the National Park Service. He is the author of Canals and The Potomac Canal: George Washington and the Waterway West and coauthor of The Monocacy Aqueduct on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Seneca, Maryland: Standing Stones.
"Historic Canals and Waterways of South Carolina is a fascinating account of a monumental internal improvements program undertaken by the State of South Carolina in the nineteenth century to facilitate the movement of agricultural products to Charleston and finished goods to the Upstate. In his richly detailed narrative, Robert J. Kapsch shares the history of the sophisticated canal system and explores its planning and construction. He expertly documents the uniqueness of the engineering involved and in particular highlights the development of the Santee Canal, America's first summit-level canal, connecting his research to the broader context of transportation history beyond the region. Kapsch proves to be an informed and insightful guide to the effects of the canal system on the lives of South Carolinians at the time and on the complex history of state since."—Dan Elswick, senior historic architecture consultant, South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office
"This comprehensive look at the nineteenth-century development of canals and improved waterways in South Carolina is a masterful treatment of a historically important public works program to bring the agricultural products of interior South Carolina to the port of Charleston. Only Robert Kapsch, with his extensive background in both history and engineering, could produce such a thorough yet accessible treatment of this subject. Especially rich in contemporary and historic images of the physical remains of the system, Kapsch's work makes the commercial and technical details of this story vividly interesting and understandable."—Patrick Martin, professor of industrial archaeology, Michigan Technical University, and president, International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage
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