Lock #1, Patowmack Canal, Great Falls ,Virginia
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member NevaP
N 38° 59.424 W 077° 14.970
18S E 305174 N 4318118
Quick Description: This is one of five locks on the historic Patawmack Canal.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 6/10/2008 7:10:36 PM
Waymark Code: WM3ZDA
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 65

Long Description:
George Washington instigated plans to link the east coast with the Ohio River valley via the Potomac River. Delegates from Virginia and Maryland, meeting at Washington's home in 1785 established the Patowmack Company and drew up the Mount Vernon Compact, providing for free trade on the river. Washington took the office of president and presided over the project until he became the nation's chief executive.

The Potomac River, which drops over 600 feet in its 200 mile route to the sea presented numerous navigational obstacles. To bypass the Great Falls of the Potomac, with a drop of 80 feet in a mile, major canal construction was required. Construction of the Patowmack canal began in 1785 but was not completed for 17 years. Cutting a canal through rock cliffs and building locks was difficult work in the late 18th century. The canal construction is believed to be the first use in America of black powder blasting for engineering.

Thousands of boats passed through the canal and the town of Matildaville, which sprang up by the locks to house workers during construction grew to include markets, gristmill, sawmill, foundry, inn, ice house, workers' barracks, boarding houses, and small homes.

But the canal was never sound financially. Construction costs had been enormous, high water restricted use of the Potomac route much of the year and tolls collected could not cover the company debt. The bankrupt company turned over its assets to the newly formed Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company and the Patowmack Canal was abandoned in 1830. Matildaville was deserted soon after.

The remnants of the canal and its five locks are preserved within Great Falls National Park. Lock #1, the uppermost, was 18 feet deep. Visitors to the park can view the stone walls of the lock which are located a short walk from the park visitor center and picnic area.
Waterway Name: Patowmack Canal

Connected Points:
By passes the falls of the Potomac River in Northeastern Virginia.


Type: Lock

Date Opened: 01/01/1802

Date Closed (if applicable): 01/01/1830

Elevation Difference (meters): 5.00

Site Status: Remnants

Web Site: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Searcher28 visited Lock #1, Patowmack Canal, Great Falls ,Virginia 9/6/2013 Searcher28 visited it
akern.geo visited Lock #1, Patowmack Canal, Great Falls ,Virginia 6/23/2013 akern.geo visited it
Banshee Reeks visited Lock #1, Patowmack Canal, Great Falls ,Virginia 2/19/2011 Banshee Reeks visited it
Three Lost Guys visited Lock #1, Patowmack Canal, Great Falls ,Virginia 7/15/2009 Three Lost Guys visited it
Pilotface visited Lock #1, Patowmack Canal, Great Falls ,Virginia 7/12/2009 Pilotface visited it

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