Description - History-
Congress acted in 1878 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the first federally -built lock and dam on the Ohio at Davis Island about five miles below the Point in Pittsburgh. This lock and dam was completed in 1885. The lock was 110 feet wide and 600 feet long and was the largest lock in the world at that time. The dam was composed of wooden bulkheads hinged on the river bottom which could be lowered when the river flow was high. Boats could then pass without using the lock. When the level of the river began to fall, however, the wooden wickets were raised to catch the water and create a pool behind the dam to maintain the level of the river for boats. These wicket dams were eventually built for the entire length of the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois. The last one, Dam 53 at Cairo, was installed in 1929. It and Dam 52 are the only wicket dams remaining on the Ohio River.
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Lock & Dam 53 + Ohio River, RR 1
, GRAND CHAIN, IL, 62941-9801, Phone: 618-742-6213