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History and nature came together for us during a recent SINHG Trip to Old Santee Canal Park in Monck's Corner. The birdwatchers among us were impressed by our guide's remarkable ear for identifying birds strictly by their song, like the Prothonotary Warblers and Eastern Bluebirds, all busy tending their

Prothonotary Warbler (courtesy Old Santee Canal Park)

nesting sites in the cypresses and live oaks along the many boardwalks threaded through this Lowcountry National Historic site.

The Santee Canal, we learned, was the first canal built in post-Revolutionary War America, authorized by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1786 and completed in 1800. Its 22-mile length. with ten locks, provided a shipping route between Charleston's Cooper River, via the Santee and Congaree rivers, to Columbia, the new state capitol. But the canal couldn't compete with the new railroads that began crisscrossing the state in the early 1800's, and

A preserved canal lock (courtesy Berkeley Observer)

the canal had fallen into disuse by the time of the Civil War. Much of it disappeared by flooding when nearby Lake Moultrie was constructed. Remnants of the old canal's locks have been preserved, along with the Stony Landing House (seen above), built in in 1843 and now used as a meeting venue.

While SINHG Trips continue through May, the schedule of trips for the fall season is under development and will be ready soon. Stay tuned!

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