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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Seneca in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Watering the Canal

 
 
Watering the Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 15, 2009
1. Watering the Canal Marker
Inscription. Why are there two locks here? While they may look similar, the two locks played very different roles in the operation of the canal. The lock in front of you is Inlet Lock 2. The lock behind you is Lift Lock 23. Lift locks raised and lowered boats to overcome changes in elevation. Inlet locks controlled the amount of water let into the canal. Dams funneled water to the inlet locks. Dam 2 diverted water from the Potomac River to this inlet lock, watering the canal from Lock 23 all the way to Lock 5 and Dam 1 at Little Falls.

Life and success on the canal depended on water. To ensure a steady supply of water, the canal company built seven dams and a stream pump along the river. In times of drought or low water, usually during the height of summer, river levels could drop dramatically. When the canal could not get enough water from the river, boat traffic stopped. This caused a loss of revenue for the canal company and the loss of a living for the boat captains.
 
Erected by C&O Canal National Historical Park - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal marker series.
 
Location. 39° 4.018′ N, 77° 19.728′ W. Marker
Watering the Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 15, 2009
2. Watering the Canal Marker
is near Seneca, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from Violette's Lock Road, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Located at the Rowser's Ford/Violette's Lock section (mile 22) of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath. Marker is in this post office area: Germantown MD 20874, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within one mile of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Rowser’s Ford (approx. 0.6 miles away); Seneca (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named Rowser’s Ford (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Seneca Aqueduct (approx. 0.7 miles away); Washington's Canal (approx. 0.7 miles away in Virginia); a different marker also named Seneca (approx. 1.1 miles away); Seneca Store (approx. 1.1 miles away); Seneca Mill (approx. 1.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Seneca.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a Satellite view of Dam 2, Inlet Lock 2 and Lift Lock 23. Water flows from right to left. To the lower right is a photo of Kate and Alfred Violette who were the last locktenders at Lock 23. Today the area bears their name. On the lower left is a set of illustrations that show how the locks worked to aid the passage of canal boats.
 
Also see . . .  Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. National
Lock #23 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 15, 2009
3. Lock #23
Looking to the upstream end of the lock.
Park Service site. (Submitted on August 30, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Waterways & Vessels
 
Downstream Entrance to the Lock image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 15, 2009
4. Downstream Entrance to the Lock
Looking from the towpath at the lock gate. The lock stands several feet taller than the downstream towpath, highlighting the change in elevation at this point.
Lockgates on Lock #23 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 15, 2009
5. Lockgates on Lock #23
Inlet Lock #2 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 15, 2009
6. Inlet Lock #2
Looking at the basin of the Inlet Lock, note the closed lock gates.
Inlet Lock #2 Gates image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 15, 2009
7. Inlet Lock #2 Gates
Satellite Photo image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 15, 2013
8. Satellite Photo
Inlet Lock 2 above and Lift Lock 23 below.
Close-up of photo on the marker
The Violettes image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 15, 2013
9. The Violettes
Kate and Alfred Violette were the last locktenders at Lock 23. Today the area bears their name.
Close-up of photo on the marker
How a Lift Lock Works -- 1 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 15, 2013
10. How a Lift Lock Works -- 1
A boat heading downstream enters the lock. Mules are unhitched and the lock tender closes the upstream gates.
Close-up of picutre on marker
How a Lift Lock Works -- 2 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 15, 2013
11. How a Lift Lock Works -- 2
The lock tender opens the downstream paddles. Water flows out and the boat is lowered.
close-up of picture on marker
How a Lift Lock Works -- 3 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 15, 2013
12. How a Lift Lock Works -- 3
With water levels equal, the lock tender opens the downstream gates. The mules are hitched and the boat moves on.
Close-up of picture on marker
Two Turtles in the Lock image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 15, 2013
13. Two Turtles in the Lock
A pair of Red Bellied Turtles swim in Lift Lock 23.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 943 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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