Lock 4

From Canal Fulton Memory Project
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Canal locks enabled boats to virtually ascend and descend heights. They are really quite simple in their construction and operation, but the ease and fluidity they brought to canal travel mark them as feats of engineering. Transecting the Continental Divide, the Ohio and Erie Canal needed approximately 146 locks along its length. Particularly in the Akron area where 42 locks carried boats over the 389-½ foot Cuyahoga slope.

The basic components of locks were stonewalls, foundations, and gates. Simply explained a canal boat would enter the lock basin from the north or the south (and this simple operation was often compounded into crises by anxious captains), the gates of the lock would be closed tightly, and water would be released or added to raise or lower the boat into the next stretch of canal bed.

Canal Fulton boasts “Lock 4” (which refers to the fact that it is the fourth lock south of the original summit county line). This Lock lowered boats 6 feet for a down-stream run to Massillon (or, of course, elevated a canal boat on its way north to Clinton). This lock has quite a colorful history with local lore attributing murder and mayhem to its stony face.

The 1827 stone construction was 16 feet wide and 90 feet long; it was later reconstructed by the Daily Brothers in 1908 of concrete. Two feet of the original stone foundation remains The Lock 4 park became part of the Stark County Metropolitan Park System in 1968, and owes its current maintenance and improvements to the Park Board.