Muhlenberg Township in Berks County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Damming the River
Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area
The First Felix Dam
To create the 108 mile Schuylkill Navigation system, a series of dams, locks, and canals were constructed along the River. Felix Dam (No. 16) and Rothermel's or Ritz's Lock (Lock No. 42) were built north of Reading past Leiz's Dam and Kelly's Lock. The Lock and locktender's house were begun in 1823 using native limestone trimmed with sandstone. The Dam also begun in 1823, was built on limestone bedrock to be 600 feet long and constructed of 8 to 9 foot tall wooden timbers fastened with barbed, 1 inch square iron pegs. These timbers were hand laid to form a crib that, once was filled with rods and capped with planks, formed the dam. The rock fill is now stabilizing the western riverbank.
The shape of the dam was termed an Inclined Back Slope Dam. The first Felix Dam was in service until 1850, when two floods damaged its eastern quarter section. The loss of trade continued into the spring of 1851 when the 150 foot breach was finally reconstructed. These were temporarily efforts so that the canal could operate and remain profitable until the second Felix Dam was built.
The Second Felix
Erected by Schuylkill River National & State Heritage Area; Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; Muhlenberg Township.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. Marker has been reported unreadable. 40° 23.58′ N, 75° 58.251′ W. Marker is in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania, in Berks County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of River Road and Ashbourne Drive, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4120 River Rd, Reading PA 19605, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Living with the River (within shouting distance of this marker); Reclaiming the River (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Removal of the Dams (about 600 feet away); The Schuylkill Navigation (about 600 feet away); Recreation on the River (approx. 0.2 miles away); Joseph Hiester (approx. 1.2 miles away); Union Canal (approx. 2 miles away); In Recognition of Warren Haggerty (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Muhlenberg Township.
More about this marker. Unfortunately the marker has been significantly damaged and is partially illegible.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 29, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 27 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 29, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.