Posted in Central Ohio, Ohio Industrial History, Park review

Lockville Park

Lockville Park is a 6 acre park in Fairfield County containing the ruins of three locks from what was once the Ohio & Erie Canal. The park also has a covered bridge that was constructed in 1888.

The ruins of one of the locks with water pooling in the center.




If you look at a map of Ohio, you’ll see Lake Erie on the northern edge. The irregular southern edge is formed by the Ohio River. The Ohio River feeds into the Mississippi River which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Both the Ohio River and Lake Erie provided convenient water transportation for Ohioans from early settlers to today. But in the early 1800’s moving goods inside the borders of Ohio was an expensive undertaking.

There was a need to create a transportation network to move goods cheaply to either Lake Erie in the north, or the Ohio River to the south. In 1822, the state legislature created a commission to plan, implement, and operate a canal system that would become known as the Ohio & Erie Canal. Ground was broken in 1825 and work was completed in 1833. The state then added a second north / south canal along the Miami River known as Miami & Erie Canal, as well as many feeder canals.

Canal routes in Ohio; the gray line going from Cleveland to Portsmouth is the Ohio & Erie Canal. The dark line going from Toledo toward Cincinnati is the Miami & Erie Canal.

The work was done in a pre-industrial era – so the canal was hand dug, mostly by German and Irish immigrants. When completed, transportation costs in Ohio dropped from $125 / ton to $25 / ton. The canal had a minimum width of 40 feet (12 meters). The canals were about 4 feet deep, and there was a 4 mph speed limit to prevent boat wakes from eroding the canal’s sides. Towpaths on either side of a canal allowed barges to be pulled by animal teams, typically a couple of horse or mules.

Vintage photo of horses pulling a boat on an Ohio canal.

Changes in elevation were handled by locks – rectangular canal sections built of stone with gates on either end. A barge would enter a lock and the gate would close. Water was either added or removed to raise or lower the barge. The gate on the other side would be opened and the barge would emerge. A barge could carry up to 10 tons of goods, but traveled only 3-4 miles per hour (5-6.5 kph).

An excerpt from the architect’s plan for the canal and locks in Lockville. Or you can view the architect’s entire plan (4000×2915 pixels) by right clicking the link and opening it in a new tab.
Deb standing on one of the locks. The red in the distance is the park’s covered bridge.
A closer look at the lock walls.
The dip in the middle is what remains of the canal, and there is a lock at the far end. You can still see the towpaths on either side of the canal.
You can see the step down to a lower water level.

By the late 1800’s the canal was losing money due to competition from railroads. A flood in 1913 destroyed portions of the canal and the system was shutdown for good.

Lockville Park contains three locks from the Ohio & Erie Canal. You can walk along the former towpath from lock to lock. The park also contains the Hartman Covered Bridge #2 built in 1888. Previously the bridge was located on Wheeling Rd over Raccoon Creek. There is a small parking area located just beyond the park entrance, and a nearby picnic shelter.

The bridge straddles what remains of the canal.
Deb looking through the bridge.
Additional information




Location

From US-33 take Pickerington Rd (County Highway 20) south. After 1.2 miles you will see Lockville Park on the right.


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© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2012 to 2017


10 thoughts on “Lockville Park

  1. This post inspires me very much. When I was young I lived in a small town in which there were two canals, old and new one. If You do not mind, please, You could compare our old canal with this one in my post. There are four photos from old canal in my post.

    Canal of Taipale.

    Happy Sunday.

    1. Very nice photos, thank you for sharing them. The Ohio & Erie Canal was pretty much abandoned except for a few small segments that are still operated for tourists. Unlike your operational canal, it was never modernized for ship traffic. Its function has been taken over by rail and truck transport (and more recently air cargo).

  2. Thank you for the feedback and all the links. I’ll check out the Gander Mountain Store in Sheffield Village.
    Patricia

    1. Patricia, I just got word that the Gander Mountain Store that I used to go to no longer carries gear for hikers. Apparently they have decided to focus exclusively on hunting-related merchandize. That may be true of the entire chain.

  3. This one is added to my list when I get down in that area. Could you give some hints about good walking / hiking shoes and other gear you feel important?

    1. Patricia, leading up to Christmas Bob and I did a post on some of our favorite gear, including my hiking boots: Christmas Gifts for the Outdoor Enthusiast. I love my hiking boots. They are breathable, yet waterproof; they have good traction and good ankle support. I didn’t buy my boots online because I like to try shoes on before purchasing them I bought mine at Gander Mountain in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

      If I mull over which gear I find the most helpful, I think it would be these:

      • Waterproof hiking boots in case the trail is muddy or crosses a stream.
      • A hat to keep the sun off my face and to keep my hair from blowing around.
      • Water bottles so I can re-hydrate, especially once the weather gets hotter.
      • DEET; I typically carry this around, but wait until mosquitoes are actually menacing me before I put it on (sadly it doesn’t always work)
      • Some place to put my water bottles and DEET; I typically use a fanny pack / lumbar pack. I have also used an over-the-shoulder strap with a water bottle holder. Bob almost always uses a day pack.
      • A walking stick can be really helpful in keeping your balance steady on steep, slippery, or uneven terrain. Some people like beautifully carved wooden staffs. I favor high-tech ones that are light and collapsible so I can put the walking stick away if I’m not needing it.

      In hot weather it can also help to bring little packets of flavored electrolytes to add to your water bottles; this turns your water into something resembling a sports drink, Bob is more prone to getting dehydrated than I am, and he’s found these to be especially helpful. He wrote up an article about them called Water.

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