In 1845, Augusta, Georgia’s fortune as an antebellum city turned on the creation of the Augusta Canal, which was built to power mills and provide the city’s drinking water. Ultimately the canal established Augusta as a Southern stronghold; that reputation saw it through the Civil War. Today, you can see along the canal’s banks the buildings that were once the backbone of Augusta’s 19th-century industry: textile mills, ironworks, and the Confederate Powderworks(whose chimneys still stand). Visit the interpretive center before you set out on your self-guided walking tour or canoe trip, or sign up for the cruises that leave from Enterprise Mill. Here you’ll learn how Augusta’s history was shaped by union strikes, child labor, floods and the war. Lucy Craft Laney, the daughter of former slaves, was born in Macon but settled in Augusta, where she founded several schools for African-Americans. Her little house now represents a big legacy: The Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History, which tells the story of her passion for education and which also serves as gallery and event space. Another of Augusta’s historic houses is the Ezekiel Harris House, under the management of the Augusta Museum of History. This 1797 home built by a tobacco planter, with its dramatic vaulted entry and galleried porches, is considered the oldest example of Federal architecture in the central Savannah River region. See where the nation’s 28th commander-in-chief was reared: President Woodrow Wilson spent his childhood years in Augusta, while his father was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. The 1859 manse where Wilson grew up figured in his earliest memories and is now open to the public. For more of Augusta’s historic buildings and neighborhoods, check out the Summerville Historic District, Downtown Historic District and the Laney-Walker District (where the Lucy Craft Laney Museum is located). Stay at the Augusta Marriott Hotel and Suites, located in downtown Augusta, central to the city’s attractions and convenient to shopping and restaurants.