Augusta Canal mystery artifact getting new attention

  • Follow Metro

The massive iron ring languished for generations at the bottom of the Augusta Canal, but now it seems everyone has an interest in it.

A massive iron object from the Augusta Canal's muddy bottom is believed to be a pump housing made by Georgia Iron Works.  Special
Special
A massive iron object from the Augusta Canal's muddy bottom is believed to be a pump housing made by Georgia Iron Works.

“It’s a giant, heavy, interesting-looking thing,” Canal Authority director Dayton Sherrouse said. “It almost looks like a tire off its rim.”

The object, believed to be a pump housing, was discovered by local historian George Barrett last winter, when the canal’s third level had been drained to accommodate a storm drain project.

“It was obviously something used in or on the canal,” Sherrouse said. “We pulled it out and planned to move it to our warehouse.”

The artifact was too heavy to move, so it was parked temporarily by a curb at nearby John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, where it caught the attention of Georgia Iron Works, which was once located nearby and likely manufactured the multi-ton object.

Reab Berry, the company’s business development director, contacted Richmond County Board of Education attorney Leonard Fletcher Jr. last month to ask whether the board would donate it for a historical display at the company’s Grovetown headquarters.

Before taking a vote, however, trustee Barbara Pulliam expressed concerns about moving a historic item out of Augusta and called Sherrouse, who told her it was the property of the Canal Authority.

“I told them it’s not theirs to donate,” Sherrouse said, adding that officials are trying to find a piece of equipment large enough to move the object to the authority’s warehouse.

The school board later voted to give the rightful owner, whoever is it, 30 days to remove the object from school property.

Berry said Georgia Iron Works has access to equipment capable of moving the artifact and would welcome a chance to display it.

“I suspect, if someone else tries to lift the thing, they’ll be happy for us to end up with it,” he said.

Comments (22) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 12/15/11 - 01:35 pm
0
0
Fell out of my pocket a while

Fell out of my pocket a while back. Appreciate yall locating it.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 12/15/11 - 01:43 pm
0
0
Looks like a pump casting ,

Looks like a pump casting , maybe from the old GIW foundry.

nothin2show4it
120
Points
nothin2show4it 12/15/11 - 01:49 pm
0
0
Doesn't that beat all. Two
Unpublished

Doesn't that beat all. Two entities fighting over a piece of scrap iron that no one previously knew existed and an arrogant school board demanding to have it removed from their "tax" paid for land.

Hope no one steels it ;)

RoadkiII
6596
Points
RoadkiII 12/15/11 - 01:53 pm
0
0
Here is a stupid suggestion.

Here is a stupid suggestion. Use what ever piece of equipment that was used to remove it from the canal to place it on a flat bed truck. A couple of chains and binders and off it goes. The feasibility study should be completed early summer of 2012. Until then I guess it will have to remain on the curb.

Little Lamb
45816
Points
Little Lamb 12/15/11 - 02:02 pm
0
0
You could make three or four

You could make three or four Dodge Neon bodies out of it. Take it to the scrap yard.

FalseHopeLooseChange
5
Points
FalseHopeLooseChange 12/15/11 - 02:50 pm
0
0
Item predates scrap

Item predates scrap yard/recycling or it would've been stolen and sold by now....

partykid1979
0
Points
partykid1979 12/15/11 - 04:00 pm
0
0
could be part of a

could be part of a steamboat...... The Savannah River does have a rich history!!!

Little Lamb
45816
Points
Little Lamb 12/15/11 - 04:30 pm
0
0
Reporter Rob Pavey wrote The

Reporter Rob Pavey wrote

The artifact . . . was parked temporarily near a curb at nearby Davidson Fine Arts School.

The photo looks to me like it was parked dead on the curb!

Augusta Canal Authority Chairman Dayton Sherrouse said:

It was obviously something used in or on the canal.

That assertion is not obviously true. Just because it was found in the canal does not mean it was used in or on the canal. It could have been used across town and was just taken to the canal for disposal.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 12/15/11 - 04:57 pm
0
0
I suspect there will be a

I suspect there will be a $50,000 dollar study made which finds it a city historical treasure. Then the study will be ignored and the thing hauled off to the scrap yard where a city employee will be injured off-loading it and the city will settle the worker's comp suit for $1,000,000. But only after spending about 3/4 of that on lawyer's fees.

walrus4ever
354
Points
walrus4ever 12/15/11 - 07:23 pm
0
0
Its a GIW pump shell that has

Its a GIW pump shell that has to be at least 40 yrs old since they relocated to Grovetown in 1965. Probably a defective casting. I machined many of them years ago. Id bet money on it.

John Locke
345
Points
John Locke 12/15/11 - 07:26 pm
0
0
Who is this local historian?

Who is this local historian? Why is he a historian? There are industrial historians out there and folks who specialize in canal histories. Not sure we have any of them here though. Sounds like a bunch of folks who don't have a clue, fighting over something they don't know about, for reasons even they don't understand.

paulwheeler
124
Points
paulwheeler 12/15/11 - 09:09 pm
0
0
Wow, all this furor over a

Wow, all this furor over a mid 20th century piece of rejected defective cast iron. But it is a giant, heavy, interesting-looking thing!

allhans
23615
Points
allhans 12/16/11 - 12:36 am
0
0
Enquiring minds want to know!

Enquiring minds want to know!

Riverman1
83470
Points
Riverman1 12/16/11 - 06:05 am
0
0
Walrus4ever explained what it

Walrus4ever explained what it is. Now just leave it out and the scrap metal thieves will take care of it.

Ole School
0
Points
Ole School 12/16/11 - 06:29 am
0
0
Hey HARLEM will fund it , and

Hey HARLEM will fund it , and put a sign beside it saying your tax money at work ... what they fail to put is " weather you like it or not "

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 12/16/11 - 07:35 am
0
0
To me, the article gives
Unpublished

To me, the article gives enough probability that it belonged to GIW in the first place. I would say have the city allow GIW to come pick it up at their expense to get it off school property. Include a stipulation that it is used at a display at GIW's offices like they wanted but if at a later date someone bored enough discovers another owner then GIW will release it to whomever wants it at their expense.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 12/16/11 - 08:10 am
0
0
To me it would be better to

To me it would be better to have it in a historical display rather than stick it in a wearhouse...

Little Lamb
45816
Points
Little Lamb 12/16/11 - 09:46 am
0
0
Especially Men's

Especially Men's Wearhouse!

Actually, it does not belong in a historical display because no one knows its history.

Boston93
117
Points
Boston93 12/16/11 - 10:27 am
0
0
It appears to me that it is

It appears to me that it is most likely from Augusta Iron Works since they were close to the canal area. It didn't float from the head gates where it would have most likely came from. A horse and buggy most definitely did not haul it to the area it was found. Give it to AIW's for their display.

Little Lamb
45816
Points
Little Lamb 12/16/11 - 10:37 am
0
0
I'm scratching my head over

I'm scratching my head over Boston's post. It seems illogical to say that just because the item was found in the canal downtown that somehow that means that the item originated in the canal area. The thing could have come from a foundry in Alabama and merely disposed of in the Augusta Canal.

P.S. I know I used the word “that” several times in my second sentence above, but I couldn't find a simpler way to say what I wanted to say.

tabletop
28
Points
tabletop 12/16/11 - 11:19 am
0
0
I feel sorry for GIW. Now

I feel sorry for GIW. Now Obama's EPD will want to fine them millions of dollars for the improper disposal of waste products.

CNC_PRO
0
Points
CNC_PRO 12/20/11 - 09:54 am
0
0
The object holds no

The object holds no historical value. The part is a pump casing (shell) produced by GIW using white iron. The part has never been machined so it was never put into production. So that tells you it was a scrap part to start with and was disposed of in the canal. It's only value would be to GIW, so they could melt it back down and pour a new part (recycle). Hopefully before the fines $.

Little Lamb
45816
Points
Little Lamb 12/20/11 - 10:06 am
0
0
Rob Pavey wrote: Reab Berry,

Rob Pavey wrote:

Reab Berry, Georgia Iron Works’ business development director, contacted Richmond County Board of Education attorney Leonard Fletcher Jr. last month to ask whether the board would donate it for a historical display at the company’s Grovetown headquarters. Before taking a vote, however, trustee Barbara Pulliam expressed concerns about moving a historic item out of Augusta and called Augusta Canal Authority Director Dayton Sherrouse, who told her it was the property of the Canal Authority. “I told them it’s not theirs to donate,” Sherrouse said, adding that officials are trying to find a piece of equipment large enough to move the object to the authority’s warehouse. The school board later voted to give the rightful owner, whoever is it, 30 days to remove the object from school property.

I hope Rob Pavey will post when the 30 days is up. If Dayton Sherrouse doesn't pick up the object within 30 days of the vote, will the School Board fold like a house of cards and leave the thing on the curb?

CNC_PRO
0
Points
CNC_PRO 12/20/11 - 10:48 am
0
0
GIW has the equipment and

GIW has the equipment and could remove it today if they called and said come get it. And I know this because I have worked at GIW for almost 20 years now.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs