Havre de Grace in Harford County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
How a Lock Works
As a boatman approached a lock, he would sound an alarm a half to a quarter of a mile away, alerting the locktender. Entering the lock was the most demanding part of canalling. Canal boats were usually designed to fill as much of the lock as possible. Thus a boat would enter the lock with only inches to spare. If the helmsman allowed the boat to hit the lock walls, he could damage the lock walls or even sink the boat. Nevertheless, the boat had to be moving fast enough to go all the way in the lock, yet still had to be stopped before it hit the gate at the other end of the lock. Crashes of this sort were a major cause of damage to the canal, as boatmen would often race each other to get
As the boat entered the lock, a crewmember jumped ashore and wrapped a rope around a snubbing post anchored next to the lock. The rope stopped the boat in the lock. Working the snubbing post took a steady hand. If the rope was too tight, the boat would crash into the side of the lock, or the post would snap, sending the boat into the gate at the far end. Too loose, and the boat crashed into the gate as well.
Once the boat was snubbed into the lock, the locking process could begin. Generally, the whole process of locking a boat through the gates took about ten minutes.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal series list.
Location. 39° 33.363′ N, 76° 5.597′ W. Marker is in Havre de Grace, Maryland, in Harford County. Marker can be reached from Conesto Street 0.2 miles from Erie Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Havre de Grace MD 21078, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); Nineteenth Century Travel (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lafayette Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); The Lock HouseUnder Attack (approx. ¼ mile away); Susquehanna River Crossing (approx. ¼ mile away); Susquehanna Lower Ferry (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Susquehanna Lower Ferry (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Havre de Grace.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 1, 2007, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,697 times since then and 16 times this year. Last updated on January 18, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1. submitted on July 1, 2007, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. 2. submitted on October 10, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 3. submitted on July 1, 2007, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. 4, 5. submitted on October 10, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.