The Augusta Riverwalk was formed to revitalize business in downtown Augusta as many businesses began moving out of downtown. In 1986, construction began on the Augusta Riverwalk.
Augusta Riverwalk is built between the Savannah River and a historic levee that served to protect Augusta from the raging waters of the Savannah River. Augusta has an eventful history of catastrophic floods. The first flood recorded was in 1796 and known as the Yazoo Freshet. The 1796 flood caused damage to bridges and the public wharf.
In 1908, a major flood killed 18 people as buildings were washed from their foundations. A levee was proposed but not built until 1919 with partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers. A flood tested the strength of the levee the same year it was built. Major floods also occurred in 1921. In 1929, a major flood occurred after the rains forced the river flow to 36 times the normal rate. The levee was topped and the streets were again flooded.
The levee was strengthened after the 1929 flood but residents did have confidence in it. In 1954, Congress authorized the construction of Clarks Hill Dam. The dam built upstream controls the river’s flow through Augusta and Savannah.
Today the river flows quietly through Augusta and the major floods are fading memories. The opening to the levee is marked to show the water levels for all of the floods that occurred.