The Waterway Forward
CARIA was established in 1890 by businessmen seeking to transport goods along the Coosa River between Gadsden, Alabama and Rome, Georgia. Heading the group was second-generation river pilot William Patrick Lay. In 1906, Lay would found what would become the Alabama Power Company. CARIA worked the first half of the 20th century towards a navigable Coosa waterway. It lobbied Congress to authorize funds for dams. Its efforts led to expanding the route to include a 9-foot navigation channel via the Mobile River and the Alabama River to Montgomery. This leg was authorized by Congress in the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945.