All That Remains (House at Lock 51)

Lockhouse 51 Ruins

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.

Walls and fireplace

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Lots of history in those bricks there. I wonder if anyone has ever found treasures in some of those bricks?


  2. Posted by LevelWalker on December 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm


    It’s hard to tell what has been unearthed at some of these sites, but the NPS frowns upon taking anything out of the park–all parks really. Richard Nixon made the C&O a national historical park in the early seventies, but I bet there were all kinds of amateur archeologists running around on the towpath before that. If anybody went in there with a metal detector now, there’s plenty of us who wouldn’t hesitate to give him a whack with our walking sticks!


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