The Upper Appomattox Navigation canal system was built between 1795 and 1850 and connected Petersburg with the Appomattox valley farms as far as Farmville. It was built and operated mostly by black laborers. The canal ran into Petersburg between Commerce and Upper Appomattox Streets roughly along the present railroad line. The canal basis was located near South Street and was the center for handling tobacco and produce brought in by batteaux. The canal era ended with the expansion of the railroad systems.