1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alabama River
ALABAMA RIVER, a river of Alabama, U.S.A., formed by the Tallapoosa and Coosa rivers, which unite about 6 m. above Montgomery. It flows W. as far as Selma, then S.W. until, about 45 m. from Mobile, it unites with the Tombigbee to form the Mobile and Tensas rivers, which discharge into Mobile Bay. The course of the Alabama is tortuous; its width varies from 200 to 300 yds., its depth from 3 to 7 ft.; its length by the United States Survey is 312 m., by steamboat measurement, 420 m. The river crosses the richest agricultural and timber districts of the state, and railways connect it with the mineral regions of north central Alabama. The principal tributary of the Alabama is the Canaba (about 200 m. long), which enters it about 10 m. below Selma. Of the rivers which form the Alabama, the Coosa crosses the mineral region of Alabama, and is navigable for light-draft boats from Rome, Georgia (where it is formed by the junction of the Oostenaula and Etowah rivers), to about 117 m. above Wetumpka (about 102 m. below Rome and 26 m. below Greensport), and from Wetumpka to its junction with the Tallapoosa; the channel of the river has been considerably improved by the Federal government. The navigation of the Tallapoosa river (which has its source in Paulding county, Georgia, and is about 250 m. long) is prevented by shoals and a 60-ft. fall at Tallassee, a few miles N. of its junction with the Coosa. The Alabama is navigable throughout the year. In 1878 the Federal government undertook to make a channel the length of the Alabama 200 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep; an amendment in 1891 provided for a 6-ft. channel at low water, and in June 1907 this work was reported as “10% completed” at an expenditure of $303,650. The Mobile river is navigable for vessels of about 14 ft. draft. The Alabama is an important carrier of cotton, cotton seed, fertilizer, cereals, lumber, naval stores, &c.; and in the fiscal year 1906–1907 the freight tonnage was 417,041 tons.