The Cooper River is a river in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Several cities are located along the river, primarily Charleston. Short and wide, the Wando River joins the Cooper, then it flows south and unites with the Ashley River in the estuary forming Charleston Harbor. The Cooper River was connected to the Santee River by a canal built in the late 18th century. Today Lake Moultrie and two canals connect the Cooper River to Lake Marion.
The Cooper River was formerly spanned by both the Silas N. Pearman Bridge, and the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge. These bridges have since been demolished and replaced by the recently completed Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. The new bridge is higher than the old ones, to accommodate larger modern ships coming into the Port of Charleston.
In service since August 8, 1929, the Grace Memorial Bridge was the oldest of the three. Named for the commissioner who inspired the state's highway system and parallel to the Grace Memorial Bridge, the Pearman Bridge opened on April 29, 1966. Previous to the completion of The Arthur Ravenel Bridge the Grace Memorial Bridge was referred to as the 'Old Cooper River Bridge' while the Pearman Bridge was called the 'New Cooper River Bridge.' The Arthur Ravenel Bridge (or New Cooper River Bridge)opened to traffic on July 16, 2005. Demolition of the Grace and Pearman bridges began shortly afterwards and was completed in 2007.
A very popular 10k run over the river occurs each spring, the Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk.
Daniel Island and Drum Island (uninhabited) are located in the river. Cargo terminals, a paper mill, and the former Charleston Navy Base line its shore. Rice was heavily cultivated on plantations surrounding the Cooper River from colonial times to the civil war. The Patriot's Point naval & maritime museum sits at the mouth of the river. Berthed at Patriot's Point are four museum ships, most notably the USS Yorktown, a World War II aircraft carrier.
“Goose Creek” A tributary of the Cooper River was the site of a U.S. Navy submarine base through the late 90’s and functioned as a nuclear weapons handling facility servicing FBM (Fleet Ballistic Submarines) until the advent of the larger Trident Class which required a deeper draft.
Stay tuned, tomorrow I will bring some pictures from Patriots Point and the old WWII aircraft carrier!