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The Little Falls Canal - 1795
Rebuilding the Guard Lock - c. 1940
It is obvious that the guard lock as it exists today is not an
intact expression of the way it had been rebuilt of stone in 1802, as seen in photographs from
the 1890s. Clearly the cap stones had been removed, the quoin post recess
for the southern guard gate was gone, and it appeared that the "original"
masonry now visible had been reworked.
The following photographs, recently found in the Madden Collection of the Canal Society of New York
State, and used here with their permission, reveal some of the process
by which this work was accomplished, apparently at about the year 1940.
Original condition circa 1920.
Click on picture for full-size view.
||This is a very informative view, for it shows the 1802 stonework
still more or less as it was in the 1890s (above). The stonework is obviously
in a terrible state, propped with timbers against impending collapse. Due to the
camera angle, one can see the quoins for the lock gate pivots on both
the north and south walls of the lock. It appears that the railroad (left) has recapped
the wall with concrete, but one can see the original lock stonework beneath, apparently
just mortared over at some point.
||In this view we see the process of rebuilding the north wall underway.
Workmen have taken out the timber supports and have pulled all the original stone
into the lock bottom, using it to reconstruct the north wall, now partially
completed. From this angle it appears that the part of the wall beneath the
railroad's concrete cap has been either rebuilt in concrete or refaced.
||Here we see that concrete work from a better angle, and it appears that
a new wall face was poured where the old stonework had been exposed previously. From the
photograph it looks like a thick new concrete face was put over the original stonework,
as it stands out from the old wall about 6 inches or so.
||In this view we see the entire north wall (left) reconstruction completed and the most of the loose
stone rubble removed from the lock. There are no capstones in evidence, and
these were apparently taken away at this time. While this is original 1802 lock
stone, the wall is a completely new one. It also appears that the workman have begun to
rebuild the south wall (look closely at the angle of the wall and the work area).
||In this view one can see the deteriorated condition of the quoin of the
south wall of the lock. Clearly with collapse occurring from the bottom
of the wall, repair would require rebuilding rather than patching.
||In this final view, we see the condition of the south wall at the quoin. While these
views do not show extensive work being done on the south wall, field evidence today
shows that this quoin has
been rebuilt to eliminate the curved recess for the lock gate pivot, the capstones
are all gone, and the damaged lower portion of the wall replaced. It appears that most of the south wall was rebuilt as the north wall was. A
comparison of the stone sequences shown here with the modern remains could confirm that.