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Lowell

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Pawtucket Canal, Swamp Locks, Pawtucket & Merrimack Canals, Lowell, Middlesex County, MA



See 62 maps of this location


B&W Photos

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Data Pages


Drawings


Photo Caption Pages


Item Title


Location
Pawtucket & Merrimack Canals, Lowell, MA

Find maps of Lowell, MA


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1968.

Notes
Survey number HAER MA-2-B
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (FN-4).
Building/structure dates: 1797 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1822 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1839 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1859 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1891 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1896 subsequent work
Significance: The Swamp Locks complex consists of a flight of two navigation locks with a dam at the west end of the upper lock. The original locks opened in 1797, and were rebuilt in 1822-1823 when this configuration was basically achieved. Remains of the 1822-1823 work are the rubble stonework of the south wasteway wall and the 25 foot wide portion of the lower lock chamber. Extant physical works date mostly from 1840-1841, when the dam was rebuilt with a straight sloped apron, which is still evident south of the sluiceway. In addition, the locks were narrowed from 25 feet to 12 feet between 1939 and 1841. The lock walls around the three gate pockets were constructed of ashlar masonry, and the remaining chamber walls reconstructed in wood, all within the existing rubble locks. The walls of the upper chamber were rebuilt in stone masonry to the 12 foot width in 1892. The wooden sides of the lower chamber no longer remain. There have been other additions and modifications subsequently. The protective light frame house has been atop the flashboard crest of the dam and over the sluiceway since 1859. Flashboard weirs and sluice gates have been periodically renewed, and sluice gate operating machinery was installed in the late 19th century. The ramp into the upper Pawtucket Canal was built in 1891, while the one into the lower Pawtucket Canal from the industrial bridge was built in 1896. The sluiceway around the south end of the dam, its gate, and operational machinery were completed in 1928. The frame building now sheltering this machinery was built in the late 19th century as a tool house and has occupied several slightly different sites. Concrete was used to rebuild the north wall of the wasteway in 1942, and the apron on the north part of the dam in 1946. The apron on the south part was then faced with concrete. The north section of the dam house was demolished and flashboard weirs replaced in 1972.

Subjects
Locks (hydraulic Facilities)
Wooden Buildings
Transportation


Related Names
Proprietors Of The Locks & Canals On The Merrimack
Jackson, Jonathan
Clark, Thomas
Boott, Kirk
Merrimack Manufacturing Company
Jackson, Patrick Tracy
Ansteth, W. Richard, Photographer
Boucher, Jack, Photographer
Hyde, Dr. Charles K., Historian
Scurci, Louis R., Delineator
Ventsch, Leslie R., Delineator
Conner, Michael F., Delineator
Ansteth, W. Richard, Delineator
Berg, Jeffrey T., Delineator
Cannon, David D., Delineator


Collection
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
1. Photocopy of a drawing (original in the Collection of the PL&C, Shelf 124, Drawing 2915)--ca. 1830--PLAN OF LOCKS, MACHINE SHOP, APPLETON AND LOWELL COMPANIES WITH CANALS
2. Photocopy of a drawing (original in the Collection of the PL&C, Shelf 118, Drawing 261) PLAN AND SECTION OF THE AMP LOCKS, JANUARY 1840
3. Photocopy of a drawing (original in the Collection of the PL&C, Shelf 141, Drawing 25) --no date--SWAMP LOCKS AND LOCK CHAMBERS
4. Photocopy of a drawing (original in the Collection of the PL&C, Shelf 144, Drawing 13) SECTIONS OF LOCK CHAMBERS AT SWAMP LOCKS DAM, APRIL 1890
5. PAWTUCKET CANAL: SWAMP LOCKS, TAKEN WHILE CANAL SYSTEM DRAINED: W. Richard Ansteth, Photographer 1975
6. SWAMP LOCKS FROM UPSTREAM, LOOKING EAST: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
7. SWAMP LOCKS LOOKING EAST ACROSS SWAMP LOCKS BASIN: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
8. SWAMP LOCKS AND DAM LOOKING AT UPSTREAM FACE FROM THE SOUTH SIDE OF SWAMP LOCKS BASIN: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
9. SWAMP LOCKS VIEWED FROM ACROSS THE ENTRANCE TO THE MERRIMACK CANAL, LOOKING SOUTHEAST: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
10. SWAMP LOCKS AND DAM, LOOKING WEST AT THE DOWNSTREAM SIDE; LOCK CHAMBERS ARE IN THE TREES AT LEFT: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
11. UPPER LOCK CHAMBER OF THE AMP LOCKS LOOKING WEST TOWARD THE UPSTREAM LOCK GATES: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
12. LOCK GATES AT THE SWAMP LOCKS, SEPARATING THE UPPER AND LOWER LOCK CHAMBERS, SHOWING PADDLE VALVES, LOOKING WEST: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
13. SWAMP LOCKS, SOUTHERN END OF THE GATEHOUSE, LOCK ENTRANCE IN FOREGROUND: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
14. INTERIOR OF SWAMP LOCKS GATEHOUSE WITH MANUALLY CONTROLED WEIRS: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
15. INTERIOR OF SWAMP LOCKS GATEHOUSE WITH MANUALLY CONTROLLED WASTE WEIRS: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
16. OPERATOR OF CONTROL ROOM, SWAMP LOCKS GATEHOUSE: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
17. LOCK GATE AND CONTROL VALVE MECHANISMS BETWEEN UPPER AND LOWER CHAMBERS: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
18. WORM AND SPUR GEARS FOR CONTROLLING THE PADDLE VALVE IN ONE OF THE GATES BETWEEN THE UPPER AND LOWER CHAMBERS: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
19. WORM AND SPUR GEARS FOR CONTROLLING THE PADDLE VALVE IN ONE OF THE LOCK GATES WHICH SEPARATES UPPER AND LOWER CHAMBERS: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976
20. WORM AND SPUR GEARS FOR CONTROLLING THE PADDLE VALVE IN ONE OF THE GATES BETWEEN THE UPPER AND LOWER CHAMBERS: Jack Boucher, Photographer 1976


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