Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park | LOCK AND LOCKHOUSE 43

Lock and Lockhouse 43 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (photo by Jerry Edmundson)

Lock and Lockhouse 43 on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (photo by Jerry Edmundson)


Lock and Lockhouse 43 are located at Mile 92.9 on the C&O Canal towpath. They are not accessible by vehicle, so reaching them requires hiking or biking 4.8 miles (one way) upstream from the closest parking area, McMahon’s Mill. See the Locks and Lockhouses web page for an interactive location map.


Lock and Lockhouse 43 are located in one of the more remote sections of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. At nearly 10 miles round trip from the nearest parking area, that’s even a long bike ride. Only some of the locks in the Paw Paw Bends are more isolated.

Along with the lock is Lockhouse 43 (not open to the public). A lockhouse is the residence of the man who is hired to operate the lock. In addition to a yearly salary, he and his family—almost all lockkeepers were family men—lived in the company provided lockhouse and had use of an acre of land for farming. Those who tended multiple locks got extra money per lock, up to two. The locks had to be very close together for the C&O Canal Company to assign multiple locks to one person.

Operating the lock was a year-round, 24-hour-a-day job. When a canal boat approached, the captain would blow a whistle to notify the lockkeeper. If it were nighttime, somebody had to wake up and go to work. Of course that’s the benefit of being a family man—your kids had to get up for the late night and early morning arrivals!

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Last updated on June 23, 2024
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