The Mussel Shoals Canal.
The completion in the fall of 1890 of the _____nal around the Mussel Shoals in the Tennessee river opened to the commerce of the Tennessee valley an unobstructed navigable waterway from Chattanooga, Tenn., by way of Paducah, Ky., and the Mississippi to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The importance of the improvement to the industries of that region can hardly be overestimated. Rich in mineral deposits, already 800,000 tons of pig-iron are annually produced in the country drained by the Tennessee and its tributaries, while it affords an almost inexhaustible supply of timber of nearly every variety. Its resources of copper, coal, zinc, marble, slate and building stone are practically without limit, and the small fruits and produce grown upon its fertile fields are plentiful and unsurpassed in quality. Developing rapidly as the commerce of this favored region has already of late done, the effect upon it of the opening of this new free highway to the world’s markets can be readily appreciated.
While as early as 1831 a small canal was constructed around a part of the shoals, it was subsequently given up as inadequate to the demands of the river commerce, and it was not until 1867 that the government seriously turned its attention to the work which has just been finished.
This work consisted in enlarging and rebuilding the old canal, built in 1831. This involved about sixteen miles of canal and twelve miles of open channel improvement, by means of rock excavation and stone dams so placed as to give three feet depth at extreme low water. For this purpose two and one-half miles of channel have been blasted from the mouth of the river, which required the removal of over 100,000 cubic yards of solid rock and a construction of 450 linear feet of temporary dams and 1400 feet of coffer dams. By means of these dams the channel was inclosed in these sections, so that the water was pumped and the bed rock was laid bare and blasted out easily and rapidly, leaving a smooth channel of uniform width that will be easy to navigate and not likely to fill up.
The permanent stone dams, which are now completed, aggregate three miles in length and contain over 80,000 cubic yards of stone. For the entire canal eleven locks, sixty feet wide and 300 feet between the gates, are required, all of which are now finished, with the gates in position.
In addition to the locks another very heavy piece of work is the Shoal Creek aqueduct, about equal to two locks, which is 850 feet in length, sixty feet wide, five feet deep, and rests on twenty-seven cut stone piers and abutments, and contains 598 heavy iron beams and 570 steel plates. The total weight of iron in this aqueduct aggregates 1000 tons.
The route of the canal is exceedingly picturesque and presents many attractive features to the traveler. On one side rises a succession of precipitous limestone cliffs, draped with mosses, vines and wild flowers ; on the other, the river, a mile in width, studded with wooded islands, roars and foams over the barriers of rock that constitute its famous shoals. The entire fall at this point is 134 feet, and the fact that the shoals have heretofore presented insuperable obstacles to navigation has preserved the wildness and natural beauty of their surroundings intact. In connection will, the improvement at Mussel Shoals, the obstructions in the river below this point known as the Colbert Shoals and the Bee-Tree Shoals are to be removed, and w ith a view to this purpose a survey was made in 1887. The head of these obstructions is about twenty one miles below the Mussel Shoals, and their radical improvement is necessary if the canal is to be utilized to its full extent for the passage of vessels of five feet draught throughout the year. It is proposed to construct a lock and dam at each of these shoals at an estimated total cost of $293,000. The first steamer which passed through Mussel Shoals canal was the government snag boat VVeit/.cl, which made the passage on November 8, 1890.
INGENIOUS, Indeed.—Mr*. Mary I.owell is a woman of many resources, and has ingeniously perfected an arrangement which serves as an automatic domestic much more easily managed than the genuine article. The bane of housekeeping to a woman is the lighting of the kitchen fire in the chilly, dismal dawn. Mrs. Lowell is a scientific electrician, and has fitted up wires in the kitchen which communicate with her bedstead in such a way that she has but to touch a knob and a little shock is given to the lire, which is carefully laid every night. When the lady deliberately dresses and goes down to her kitchen, the fire is cheerfully burning, the kettle is merrily boiling, and the oatmeal is neatly cooked. When a process is perfected by which a lady can attach an electric button to her rocking chair which will wash the dishes while she leads or embroiders, the great servant problem will cease from troubling. —New York Sun.