Lock 51 and what’s left of the lockhouse sit at mile 122.6 on the C&O Canal. I’ve been through this area several times–mostly on a bike–and it never ceases to amaze me how much I’ve missed. I even did a voluntary cleanup hike here a couple of years ago and managed to completely ignore this site. I suppose trying to create a website with a blog format has its merits: it makes me look at everything on or near the C&O with a new perspective.
The ruins of this lockhouse are beautiful, and I really do wonder why a stone structure wouldn’t outlast a wooden one–take Lockhouse 56 for example. Who knows? There have been numerous floods on the Potomac since the canal opened, and Lockhouse 62 (near the Sorrel Ridge campsite) fell victim to arson. With this in mind, the possible reasons behind the demise of this house are numerous–water damage, sabotage, neglect, old age, etc. I know a couple of people who are well-versed in the history of the C&O, and these ruins have me intrigued. Hopefully, somebody has the answers to these questions. They’re certainly worth knowing.