An Archaeo-Architectural Examination of Lock 24, Elkton, Ohio

By: Charles Mastran


To the degree in which it can be determined at the present time, no formal archaeological field study has been conducted on any architectural remains still in extant within the domain of northeastern Ohio’s Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line corridor, notably within Columbiana County. In summer, 2005, this contingency prompted archaeologists from Youngstown State University, accompanied by volunteers, to execute a first time field assessment and architectural description upon two free standing, quadratic ashlar stone lineaments known locally as Lock 24. The lock, presently under private ownership, and heavily cannibalized, is situated within the limits of Elkton, Ohio, a small locality residing in what was the twenty-seven mile long Eastern Division of the Sandy and Beaver Line, an affiliate of the Ohio and Erie Canal. The examination led to a plethora of Nineteenth Century architectural detail surrounding the remains of Lock 24, a generic reminder of the Ohio canal era. Indeed, through the agency of three specialized contractors, Lock 24, comprised of composite materials, was created as a fully-operational guard lock while under the jurisdiction of head engineer, William Minor Roberts in 1846. For clarity in presentation, a photographic figure and map display will best describe Lock 24, and thus contribute to the further understanding of an otherwise broad and well-known period in Ohio history and that history’s place within a local community.


In May, 2005, then Youngstown State University anthropology chair, John R. White, local restaurateur Pat Chrystal, and his son, Pat Chrystal II, met informally at “Patrick’s Lock 24 Chophouse” grounds located in Elkton, Ohio. Here, the three viewed two separate and freestanding ashlars quadratic lineaments, known popularly in Columbiana County as Lock 24. Lock 24 is one of fifty-seven similarly contrived architectural features imbedded within a twenty-seven mile long corridor[1. R. Max Gard and William Vodrey Jr., The Sandy and Beaver Canal (East Liverpool: East Liverpool Historical Society, 1952), 179.] that is historically identified as the Eastern Division of the defunct Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line (1834-1852), a tendril to the Ohio and Erie Canal.[2. Jack Gieck, A Photo Album of Ohio’s Canal Era: 1825-1913 (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1992), 200.] Conceived within Center Township, Columbiana County,[3. Gard and Vodrey Jr., The Sandy and Beaver Canal, 179.] the Eastern Division provenience sprang from an ersatz locale that is spuriously defined as ‘Lockbridge’.[4. Gieck, A Photo Album of Ohio’s Canal Era: 1825-1913, 202.] From there, the Division proceeded east to an Ohio River terminus situated at Glasgow, Pennsylvania. There is precedent for this type of field inquiry going back to the 1960s. In effect, historical archaeologists examining the post-colonial period took to the field during the periods of the 1970s and the 1980s, where they sought to explore the relationships between riverine “internal improvements” characterized by canal/lock systems, and how these systems augmented the economies of various communities.[5. Virgil E. Noble, “The Archaeology of American Canals, ” The Michigan Archaeologist 37, no. 1 (1991): 35-44.] The establishment of such ‘improvements’ were deemed necessary not only for various elected governments of the day, but also by enthusiastic local community leaders and entrepreneurs fostering a desire to promote and increase the flow of goods and services between outlying urban centers and a largely agrarian population.

The long abandoned Sandy and Beaver Canal was, in the decade of the 1830s, a locally initiated and privatized enterprise by Columbiana, Tuscarawas, and Stark County luminaries.[6. Benjamin Hanna and Charles D. Hostetter, Charter of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company: Reports of Engineers (New Lisbon: Joseph Cable, 1834), 5.] The county seigniory sought viable options which would not only ennoble and expand Columbiana County markets via New Lisbon, but would also attract that locale’s sister economies, all of whom sought tenure with brokerage beyond the Appalachian front. In this way, they then could extend their economic designs to Pittsburgh, and finally on to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[7. Edward Miller, Report to the Shareholders of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company (Philadelphia: Joseph and William Kite Printers, 1839), 12.] The author was assigned the role of principle investigator, a decision agreed upon by the author and Youngstown State University, of which the anthropology Chair, Dr. White, served as representative.

Location and Setting

Lock 24 is located in Elkton Township, Columbiana County, Ohio within the limits of the hamlet of Elkton (Range 2 Twp. II Section 21). The lock chamber pit lies within an excavated, water logged trough, itself positioned within an enclave at the southernmost boundary of an alluvial terrace. The terrace sits directly adjacent to the northern brim of the Middle Fork of the Little Beaver Creek. The Little Beaver is a third order perennial tributary of the Ohio River. Moreover, both the middle and west forks of the Little Beaver merge to create the Little Beaver River, a primary tributary to the Ohio River which empties near the city of East Liverpool.[8. <> (2007).] Curious students of the canal era can view the site by traveling State Route 154, three miles east of Lisbon, Ohio to Elkton, the location of Pat’s Lock 24 Chophouse. However, at this juncture, the Chophouse is no longer in business. The parking area facility rests on the alluvial plain that overlooks a wooded, brush laden chamber pit or chambres d’ecluse. Here, during the construction term, excavated material was removed to make allowance for the deployment and proper positioning of quarried and trimmed ashlar stone range work which formed the chamber.[9. Edward Hall Gill, “Specification for a Lock, Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in Reports Specifications, and Estimates of Public Works in the United States of America. Eds.William Strickland, Edward H. Gill, and Henry R. Campbell (London: John Weale, 1841), 125.] The chamber hollow, aside its accompanying towpath hillock and berm embankment, ends abruptly and melds into neighboring wooded and brushy properties on either side of the landowners legal bounds east and west of the pit.


Figure 1: Map of Public Works of Ohio 1826. Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

Accordingly, the chamber trough is aligned west to east as it conforms to the
northern leading edge of a gradual bend in the Little Beaver, where it is annexed to the interior slope of the towpath hillock, which serves to separate the pit from the creek. The lock chamber’s trough surroundings or mise en scene consists of indigenous hardwoods, brush, bramble, deadfall, weeds, and grasses. Furthermore, the pit base or alveux is completely water-saturated, yet it is comprehensively blanketed by a species of Forget-Me-Not known as Myosotis Sylvatica of the family Boraginaceae. This particular species, which produces tiny, fingernail size, petal flowers, has its origins in Europe.[10. “Myositis Sylvatica,” Wikipedia, <> (2006).]


Figure 2: Map of Location of Elkton, Ohio and Lock 24. Adapted from Gard & Vadrey Jr, The Sandy Beaver Canal, 1952.


A document search assembled a literary base that would encase Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line details. Investigative field technique incorporated two phases. The first aspect consisted of grubbing or clearing and removing surface vegetation from the physiognomy of the Lock 24 tract for clarity. The second involved a road trip to the accessible and pristine Lock 10 located within the borders of the Shenango Recreation Area near Sharpsville, Pennsylvania in Mercer County. Lock 10 is defined by an established historical marker as a guard lock. Hence, for the author, it qualified as an analog to Lock 24. Further, according to the marker, Lock 10 is the only standing architectural remnant of the Erie Extension Canal (1840-1871) and is reasonably close enough in time as a contemporary of Lock 24, to warrant a reasonable comparison to that lock.

At Lock 24, grubbing operations were held to a variety of hand tools including weed whips, sickles, chainsaws, bow saws, machetes, shovels, rakes, and trowels. No heavy equipment was utilized nor were these implements available during the field process, and, in conjunction with this work, photography was limited to hand-held point-and-shoot cameras.

De-vegetation procedures exposed all surface-borne, architecturally-contrived features associated to the lock. No formal site boundaries were adjudicated, as the investigators and site owners agreed to simply remain within the property owner’s legal periphery. Debris and detritus were removed as neatly as possible to facilitate the exposure of the soil just below the immediate sod layer. Three test pits and one trench were excavated. Two were sunk directly adjacent the western flanks of both lineaments, now labeled Structure A and Structure B, with Structure A abutting the northern berm embankment which is carved evenly across the alluvial terrace, and Structure B opposed the towpath hillock that borders the Little Beaver. Both of these tests were 1.5 m X 2m X 1.10m deep, or to the level of the water seeping into the test pit understructure. A third test, 1m X 2.50m X 1.30m deep, was randomly chosen and placed into the berm embankment 22.50m due east of Structure A at the juncture to the pit fond, in order to detect any further range work representation (of which there was none visible). The depths of all three tests were dictated by encroaching water continually percolating into the chamber hollow bottom. Moreover, a fourth test, consisting of a trench, was designated between Structure A and Structure B. This contrivance, 40cm wide X 47cm deep, traversed the distance between the two quadratics at 4.75m.

As an exercise, a field worker paced the mid-point transect within the chamber trough. In this location, a one meter long steel probe was sunk into the water-permeated under-stratum in an attempt to tap into any form of hidden construction. However, this display incurred no tangible result. Due to time, the fluctuations of personnel presence on site, and the lack of useful equipment thereof, no further tests were conducted—particularly within the confines of the towpath hillock, as past excavations conducted by field researchers have included profiling the towpath.[11. Virgil E. Noble, “The Archaeology of American Canals,” 41.]Sectioning this feature has often displayed drain systems and, more readily, the mainstay waterproofing technique of the period, puddling. This method involved mixing clay with sand and sometimes gravel. The concoction was then puddled or “chopped and kneaded….by spades or trampled underfoot….until it was reduced to a semi plastic state”.[12. W. R. Jones, The Dictionary of Industrial Archaeology, (Herndon, VA.: Sutton Publishing, 1996), 287.] When used it was heavily-compacted within its assigned area of the canal ditch/lock system in order to impede the ingress and/or egress of unwanted water, preventing frequent repairs.

At Lock 24, a drain system was designated within the parameters of the lock’s structural integrity. One Jacob Petitt is credited for “…..the company’s subscription toward making drain of lock [sic]… the town of Elkton”.[13. Charles D. Hostetter, Treasurer of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line 1837-1847, Lisbon Historical Society, Ohio, 310.] There were no other tests attempted within the chamber environment nor any produced upon the flats of the berm embankment for want of personnel and time.


Subsurface soils were completely overturned as a result of the removal, modification, and relocation of extensive amounts of earth during the time frame of chamber construction. The towpath cumulus was created by the cutting and leveling of the alluvial terrace slope and the excavation of the chamber cavity. Soils in all tests consisted of mottled, non-stratified deposits of black, grey, yellow and orange clays, sands and gravels. These elements were interspersed with water tumbled, and smoothed cobblestones, and these stones failed to exhibit any particular attributes.


The Lock 24 artifact congeries consists primarily of an integrated framework of earth and stone that, when combined with timber, formed a fully functioning lock chamber superstructure consistent with inland water transport architecture of Nineteenth Century America. Correspondingly, such inland waterways are attended by dams or weirs intended to collect water in order to allow for the safe passage of canal boats or packets. Here, no field worker could visually identify any standing residuals pertaining to such models and it is believed that any materials applying to these mechanisms had long since been removed or salvaged in the past. Furthermore, small items such as pottery or wares derived from other kinds of media, such as through blacksmithing, were non-extant or simply non-contemporaneous in time and, therefore, excused from examination. Consequently, for field examiners, three major features stood out. These are represented by the towpath hillock, the lock hollow, and the carved, complanate berm embankment. This tri-lateral combine constituted the Lock 24 site as a whole.

Critical Measurements

Note: All field measurements were conducted within the metric system and, later, converted into English. It is general knowledge that, as lock technology progressed to the new world, the English measurement system was the common method established during the American canal construction period.

Berm Embankment

Maximum width: 7.62m (25ft). Note: the length of the berm embankment is contiguous with the total length of the lock trough.

Lock Chamber Pit

Maximum length: 36.8m (120.73ft).
Maximum width: 14.28m (46.85ft). From the Top of the towpath to the top of the opposing berm bank.
Maximum width: 7.6m (24.9ft). From the towpath base to the berm bank base.
Maximum depth:1.75m (5.74ft).

Towpath Hillock

Maximum length: 36.8m (120.73ft).
Maximum width : 3.65m (12ft).
Minimum width: 2.43m (8ft).

Intra-Site Features

Crucial to the examination of any portion of a lock chamber would be any identifiable paraphernalia or fixtures having an association to its remains. From a distance, SA and SB protrude perpendicularly above the trough-scape as a pair of non-descript, stacked stone entities. Instead, closer observation reveals architectural constants inherent to both lineaments. The coursing or range work bonding method is here described as “regularly coursed.”[14. Edward Spons, Spons’ Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval, vol. 3, eds. Byrne and Spons (New York: E. & F. N. Spons, 1874), 2373.] Two, there is a complete absence of cement mortar fill in both the vertical and horizontal joint interstices and abrevoir. Three, purpose built, large rectangular recesses, complimented by square quoin, extend the full height of both structures’ interior facets. A fourth attribute assigned to both quads is a right angle relief or rabbet posited on the western anterior flanks facing one another. A rabbet is designed to hold a cleat or clead. Additionally, the range work expression of SA and SB is complimented with flat, wrought iron furniture known as attaches or flanches. These items are set between the interior upper and lower bed joints of the first and second courses above the bottom of the lock hollow. The bars are positioned at right angles to the large interior recesses and set within chisel-cut draughts assigned to hold these accoutrements in place within the course work. These bars provide a stable union which connects heavy timbers to the stone. During the ensuing grubbing process about the site, a third stone lineament was revealed and is now called Structure C (SC). SC appears within the northern interior flank of the towpath tumulus east of SB and at the juncture with the pit bottom. SC is described here as random rubble ashlars built to course[15. Ibid, 2373.] with some portions being topped by levelers. Moreover, the remains of a stone cramp or clamp complete with lead corking or caulking is present. This device bound ashlar works together as construction reinforcement. The example here was the only one discovered. The type of cramp in this venue was a simple, flat bar. Other types during the period constituted an ‘S’ shaped bar, but a more common shape was that of a flattened bar whose ends were bent to right angles forming a staple or squared “C” shape. The lead caulking served to bind the cramp to the porous sandstone.

Intra-Site Feature Measurements

Structure A

Maximum height: 1.83m (6ft).
Maximum length: 3.23m (10.59ft)
Maximum width: 2.54m (8.3ft)

Structure B

Maximum height: 1.37m (4.49ft)
Maximum length: 4.37m (14.33ft)
Maximum width: 1.62m (5.3ft)
The distance between SA and SB is 4.75m (15.58ft).

Structure C

Note that the distance from the far-east terminus of SB to the far west terminus of SC is 19m (62.33ft).
Maximum height: 1.3m (4.26ft)
Maximum length: 11.47m (37.63ft)
Maximum width: 80cm (2.6ft)

Structure D (SD)

Structure D is now identified as a stone or bedrock floor or pad discovered within the distance covered between SA and SB. No feature specific measurements could be approached due to continual water and mud encroachment.

Paraphernalia Measurements

Depth of all large interior recesses: 48.76cm (1.6ft)
All Rabbets: 16.5cm square (6.5 X 6.5in)

Wrought Iron Attaches
Maximum length: 13cm (5.11in)
Minimum length: 12cm (4.7in)
Maximum width, all: 7cm (2.75in)

Construction Dynamics and Discussion

The Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line is well known to both Ohio canal era historians, and to local enthusiasts prominently represented by co-authors R. Max Gard and William H. Vodrey, Jr. Gard and Vodrey Jr. dedicated a text to the Sandy and Beaver in 1952. Planned as a “Summit level canal”[16. D. B. Douglas, “Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in U.S. Congress House Report No. 357, 21st Congress, 1st sess., 12 April 1830, 1.; Edward Hall Gill, “Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in U.S. Congress House Document 141, 23rd Cong., 2nd sess., 9 February 1835, 1.] and later realized as such,[17. Edward Miller, Report to the Shareholders of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company (Philadelphia: Joseph and William Kite Printers, 1839), 4.] the line was engineered to bypass hilly, uneven terrain encompassing a profusion of streams, creeks, and drainages all emptying in to the Ohio River. The system, much like its’ forebears, was planned around reservoirs, holding ponds, weirs and locks, which, collectively, allowed substantial water levels to insure the safety of boat traffic plying the line from Bolivar, Ohio east to the Ohio River terminus at Glasgow, Pennsylvania.

The Sandy and Beaver lock chamber pedigree can ultimately be traced to medieval Italy.[18. M.I. Sganzin, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering, translated from the French 3rd edition (Hillard, Gray, and Co., 1837), 152.] In 1167, an amalgamation of northern Italian cities created the Lombard League.[19. James Kip Finch, “Transportation and Construction, 1300-1800: The Rise of Modern Civil Engineering,” in Technology in Western Civilization Vol. 1 The Emergence of Modern Industrial Society: The Earliest Times to 1900 eds. Melvin Kranzbergand and Carroll W. Purcell Jr., (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), 192.] The League created a hydrological network of rope manipulated weirs which trapped and raised the level of local rivers in order to “…..create slack water of sufficient depths to float boats”.[20. Ibid, 192.] These weirs were built as whole objects without a moving gate apparatus that could induce or evacuate water. The “locking” chamber format appeared as early as 1236 in Bruges, Belgium, though again, it was without a formal device identifiable as a “gate”. Most canal users of the day had no precedent which would allow for the innovation of an isolated moveable mechanism that could, in effect, control water flow. That said, in 1485, the retractable wicket debuted. Its design enabled water flow dynamics to be regulated within a repository. By definition, it was the closing of these portals, placed at opposite ends of the weir chamber, which prompted the word “lock”.[21. Ibid, 193.] The advance of a lock-at-will appliance proffered the raising and lowering of water levels sufficient enough to transport boats with complete freedom regardless of the geomorphology of the surrounding countryside.

The lock/slack water/summit level model appears to be the apex in inland transportation up to the mid portion of the Nineteenth Century in America, when railroad systems and mechanical engines overcame the technology. By the time of the Sandy and Beaver’s implementation, the lock chamber was merely a generic artifact with no inherent need for change. A British observer remarked “The canals….in the United States are so numerous, and resemble each other so much, that I do not consider it necessary to give a detailed description”.[22. David Stevenson, Sketch of the Civil Engineering of North America (London: John Weale Architectural Library 1838), 201-202.] The canal and lock system survived for centuries and remained the singular means to move travelers, goods and services cross-country in Europe and England. By the Eighteenth Century, the technology found a champion in George Washington. Washington sent iron master John Ballendine to England specifically to ascertain and collect the technical skill needed to “build….canals in order to open the Potomac and James Rivers.”[23. Robert Kapsch, Canals (Library of Congress, New York: W. W. Norton & Co. Inc., 2004), 10.]

By 1825, the technical expertise arrived in the state of Ohio in the guise of transient civil engineers accompanied by Irish and German laborers, all late of the Erie Canal in New York. Built by the Guthrie McCollum & Co. in 1846[24. Hostetter, Treasurer of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line 1837-1847, no page reference.] the ashlar lined chamber portion of Lock 24 “at mile 24 (Eastern Division) includes a dam and a guard lock”.[25. D. B. Douglas, “Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in U.S. Congress House Report No. 357, 21st Congress, 1st sess., 12 April 1830, 9.] By definition then, the guard lock accedes to the ingress and egress of canal packet boat traffic traversing the boundaries of rivers, tributaries, drainages and ponds. The guard lock is closely associated to an embedded weir straddling the water source.

Upon placement, water rises well enough to inhibit, if not immediately prevent damage to the underside of boats traveling to the next associated lock. A secondary weir trait impedes unwanted water access into the canal lock system which could, and, historically, has damaged lock architecture.[26. Gard and Vodrey Jr., The Sandy and Beaver Canal, 169; Robert Kapsch Canals, 35.] Its use within the Sandy and Beaver organization now defined, Lock 24 is specified as a “composite lock ‘of about five feet lift’.”[27. Hostetter, Treasurer of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line 1837-1847, no page reference.] Composite locks are commonly spread throughout the United States and well recognized. In fact they are comprised of stone and planks, where planks are “nailed to the horizontal and upright timbers…firmly secured to…dry stone walls” and the walls in turn “… upon a platform laid upon heavy timbers placed transversely to the axis of the lock”.[28. D.H. Mahan, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering for the use of Cadets of the United States Military Academy 6th ed., (New York: John Wiley, 1855), 333.] Accordingly, however miniscule Lock 24’s remains appear to the outside observer, they nevertheless serve as representatives for their time: a generic fabrication strategically placed to overcome a landscape which generally hindered transport communication in Nineteenth Century Ohio and the eastern United States. Indeed, Lock 24 displays architectural attributes which identify the commonality of the structure as these criteria apply to the processes of lock engineering in accordance with that century’s civil engineering philosophy.

Figure Three displays the isolated, ashlar quadratic lineaments of Lock 24, stripped of their major components. From the bottom of the figure to the top, in succession, are the berm bank, Structure A, and Structure B with an adjacent test pit carved laterally into the towpath hillock. The soils contained within the test are non-stratified. The middle fork of the Little Beaver is only slightly visible. The view is taken from the top of the alluvial plain upon which the restaurant parking lot sits. SA and SB are comprised of locally quarried Lower Freeport Sandstone of the Lower Pennsylvanian geologic age whereby “much of this sandstone went into the locks….of the Sandy and Beaver Canal”.[29. Mark Camp, The Roadside Geology of Ohio (Missoula: Mountain Press Publishing, 2000), 234.] The lock reflects the Nineteenth Century’s propensity towards stone as the major building material, particularly sandstone, prior to the increasing importance of iron. In 1837, M.I. Sganzin remarks, “ when practicable…..locks should be constructed entirely of cut stone…..” and “in fact, all those parts… to shocks and friction should be of stone”.[30. Sganzin, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering, 178.]


Figure 3: View South East. Photo Credit: Bob Durick


Figure 4: View West, the Towpath Hillock. Photo Credit: A. Charles Mastran

In Figure Four, the Little Beaver lies south while the canal ditch remnant is to the north. Remaining true to specifications set at the Erie Canal in New York,[31. Mahan, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering for the use of Cadets of the United States Military Academy 6th ed., 238.] the Lock 24 towpath crest measures twelve feet in width to the juncture of its anterior down slope toward the Little Beaver. This width is designed so that two horses may “pass each other with ease”.[32. Ibid, 314.] The consistently smaller dimension of eight feet, extending from the eastern most terminus of Structure B and along the interior aspect of the chamber/towpath slope, is likely the result of salvage efforts geared to removing stone for re-use. The author believes the operation was done within a singular time frame, thus the consistency in width.


Figure 5: Structure A, View Northwest. Photo Credit: Marian Kutlesa

Figure Five is identified as a gate chamber recess with the remainder of its square quoin attached within the interior aspect of Structure A juxtaposed to the bermbank. The thin sandstone slabs sandwiched between the larger stones near the center of the figure are levellers. The levellers are engaged in a pseudosodomic architectural technique that allows for larger stones to fit flush and thereby create a level alignment while being set to course.[33. W. R. Jones, The Dictionary of Industrial Archaeology (Herndon, VA.: Sutton Publishing, 1999).] The large header stone resting atop the pseudosodomic insert may also be considered a binder or through stone as it appears to “reach from the face to the back of the wall”.[34. Edward Spons. Spons’ Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval, 2374.] This stone ties into that coursing set perpendicular to it. The stones are regularly coursed and set within a dry stone format. Note the vacated space, second course from the top—this was another binder. The large, roughly-shaped stone behind the ashlar and inserted into the bermbank, is a remnant of rubble wall backing. Backing lends lateral support to the interior chamber facia wall in order to contain water pressure during a filling period. In the figure’s background, the access ramp is visible. The ramp allowed ingress and regress during construction as well as during boat operations.


Figure 6: Close up of Structure A. Photo Credit: Marian Kutlesa

Figure Six shows a close-up view of Structure A. In order to tie in timber frame piecework to ashlar, flat, wrought iron attaches or flanches were embedded into draughts chiseled to contain them. Note the fastening lugs at the tips of the rectangular iron strap “… which they may be fastened to the wood”.[35. John Millington, Elements of Civil Engineering (Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1839), 701.] Edward Gill’s original specification called for the base of all the locks within the Sandy and Beaver Line to be timbered “upon piles”, preferably of white oak.[36. Edward Hall Gill, “Specification for a Lock, Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in Reports Specifications, and Estimates of Public Works in the United States of America. Eds.William Strickland, Edward H. Gill, and Henry R. Campbell (London: John Weale, 1841), 125.] During construction, piles set at predetermined spacing, would line the chamber hollow. To these were attached longitudal “sleepers” or rails and these, then, were themselves connected to “transverse pieces so as to form a grillage”.[37. John Millington, Elements of Civil Engineering (Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1839), 698-699.] The iron attaches here, are in place to receive the fastening of rail timbers acting as beams that extend the length of the chamber. When complete, the entire stone and timber apparatus, backed by volumetric earthen fill, withstands the “forces acting transverse to its long dimension”.[38. Henry Petroski, To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design (New York: Random House, 1992), 45-46.]


Figure 7: Structure B, View South. Photo Credit: Bob Durick

Figure Seven displays a second gate recess with square quoin. The recesses are typical of the lock chamber make-up and the recess depth is “sufficient to allow the gate….to fall two or three inches within the facing of the wall so it may be out of the way”.[39. Mahan, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering, 331.] The bonding of the course or range work is unchanged as is the fact that both Structure A and Structure B were laid within a dry stone format without mortar. On the far left is rubble backing stones in disarray.


Figure 8: Close up of Structure B. Photo Credit: Marian Kutlesa

Figure Eight displays the fact that there is no mortar maintained within the interstices of the vertical and horizontal joints or abrevoir. At the bottom left there is an attaché set to receive timber rail. A closer look at the top edge or arris of the block midway in the figure displays broaching, whereby holes were drilled into the quarry stone and “then cut to free the block.[40. James Stevens Curl, Oxford Dictionary of Architecture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).] The method of cutting stone has been entertained in a vernacular sense since 1774 with a commercial modification appearing in 1803 to the present. Known as the plug and feather method, the technique is common in New England, and here at Lock 24, the method is seen with little variation. Generally, three-quarter to one-inch holes are created utilizing a hammer and chisel designed for impacting stone material. The holes were placed, as displayed here, evenly along a perceived fracture transect about six inches apart. Once drilled, an iron wedge, accompanied by a pair of semi-circular iron shims or “feathers” were placed into each succeeding hole. The feathers prevented the violent return of the wedges when impacted by the hammer, thus they were a safety measure. Once the holes were aligned and all the feathers were in place, a worker could safely strike the wedges along the intended fracture line until the stone split.[41. <> (2010)] Once split, the stone could be dressed as needed and put into place.


Figure 9: Structure A, Close-up. Photo Credit: Marian Kutlesa

In Figure Nine a large letter “B” is clearly posted in the middle of the figure far left. This is the mark of the gate maker or recess creator. Possibly both aspects were completed by a single worker as, “by cash paid Thomas Baker on account of work at the lock gate (s) no. 24 & 25 e.d.”.[42. Hostetter, Treasurer of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line 1837-1847, no page reference.] The mark is a maker’s reference, a transfer, ultimately from medieval European practices signifying pride in accomplishment.[43. James Stevens Curl, Oxford Dictionary of Architecture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).] The outer edge of this stone has been rusticated or smoothed around it’s perimeter edge to emphasize the joints, creating a close fit, for “….all the stones are to be hammer dressed so as to have good, square joints and level beds….and laid close”.[44. Edward Hall Gill, “Specification for a Lock, Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in Reports Specifications, and Estimates of Public Works in the United States of America. Eds.William Strickland, Edward H. Gill, and Henry R. Campbell (London: John Weale, 1841), 127.] Additionally, the facial surface has been knotted or scabbeled. The effect was accomplished via “the pick or hammer”.[45. Spons, Spons’ Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval, vol. 3, 2375.]


Figure 10: Structure A, View Northeast. Photo Credit: A. Charles Mastran

Figure Ten exhibits a style of stone cramping without iron flanches. Instead, Lock 24’s structural integrity lies, in part, on compression as a major facet. Herewith, a stretcher (second course from the top) has had its top bedding surface heavily frogged or incised approximately three quarter of its length. The mortise allows for the placing of a carefully dressed header to fill the niche, thus interlocking the coursework and proscribing mortar. The bottom two courses have been set to the same arrangement because “the exterior course of stones at the entrance should be so jointed as to not to work loose.”[46. Mahan, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering, 331.]

The regimentation is designed for the structure to settle upon its own weight as the engineering strategy of the day relied on “compression as a stabilizing force”.[47. Henry Petroski, To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design (New York: Random House, 1992), 56.] Compression generally interdicted the effect of water pressure exerted upon the structure without waterproofing portended by mortar or multiple cramping sequences. The technique was far more economical. The far left of the figure reveals an architectural tenet called a rabbet or rebate. The device is a right angle mortise extending the vertical length of the quadrata along the structure’s interior west flank. A rabbet is designed to “receive the end of another element”.[48. Curl, Oxford Dictionary of Architecture.] In this case however, the appliance takes on the appearance of a variation or localized form, if not altogether incomplete stop plank groove where planking is inserted into the space to create a dam for inspection and/or repairs within or around the lock.[49. John Millington, Elements of Civil Engineering (Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1839), 706.] Structure B maintains a similarly carved contrivance opposite Structure A, but it is not well defined.


Figure 11: Lock 10, The Shenango Recreation Area, Mercer County, Pa. Photo Credit: A. Charles Mastran


Figure 12: Lock 10. Photo Credit: A. Charles Mastran

Figure Eleven displays the length of a pristine guard lock chamber and its associated gate recesses with square quoin intact.

Figure Twelve shows a completely articulated gate recess with square quoin complimented by the stop plank groove. Note that the leading edge of the quoin has been chamfered along its height. This detail is not displayed at Lock 24. Chamfering may permit access for the lock gates to close without chipping the cornice of the quoin. The effect would entail more labor costs.


Figure 13: Structure C, View South. Photo Credit: A. Charles Mastran

In Figure Thirteen, Structure C is now identified as coursed rubble backing, an architectural safety mechanism which was raised in unison with the chamber’s facia walls whereas “lock walls not occupied by the face stones shall be composed of good, large, solid stone, well shaped… to form a strong bond throughout the whole”.[50. Gill, “Specification for a Lock, Sandy and Beaver Canal,” 127.] The specification entailed that backing stones carry “the same thickness that the face stones in front of them have”.[51. Spons, Spons’ Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval, vol. 1, eds. Byrne and Spons (New York: E. & F. N. Spons, 1874), 265.] The figure displays generally large stones not particularly well shaped. Instead, the coursework here may more accurately be described as bastard ashlar set to a level alignment. The term identifies stone roughly hewn to size and shape (boasted) but not universally squared or trued. Following construction protocol, backing was lain at the “same depth (and) formed to the same plain with that of the ashlar facing”.[52. Edward Spons, Spons’ Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval, vol. 3, 2375.] There is no mortar filling the interstices. Rather, ill fitted spacing is infused with sneck, small stones “set….between….larger stones, preserving the horizontal and vertical bonds”.[53. James Stevens Curl, Oxford Dictionary of Architecture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).] Furthermore, as a construction methodology, the creation of a chamber entails a fabrication technique which disallows the encroachment of surrounding earthen fill as the chamber walls were not to be “ embanked for at least one month after their completion”.[54. Edward Hall Gill, “Specification for a Lock, Sandy and Beaver Canal,” 127.] This edict insures the structural safety of chamber building as the “side formations of excavation embankments require peculiar care, particularly by the latter, as any crevices [sic] when they are first formed, or which may take place by settling, might prove destructive to the work.”[55. D.H. Mahan, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering for the use of Cadets of the United States Military Academy 6th ed., (New York: John Wiley, 1855), 316.]

The figure also incorporates a binder stone doubling as a header, right of center, and with the quarry broaching shafts retained. The stone is somewhat better shaped and dressed than its peers. It is termed a binder because it “locks” the rubble backing to the facine whereupon “the back and face headers (are) interlocking with each other so as to bind the whole wall firmly together.”[56. Gill, “Specification for a Lock, Sandy and Beaver Canal,” 127.]


Figure 14: Structure C, Close-up. Photo Credit: A. Charles Mastran

In Figure Fourteen, the remains of a solitary iron cramp position marked by a chisel draught carved upon the top bedding plane of the stone. The residue of lead corking is present. The “C” shaped or staple shaped cramp is designed to bind two stones “of the same course” which are “firmly set with melted lead”.[57. Spons, Spons’ Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval, vol. 2, eds. Byrne and Spons (New York: E. & F. N. Spons, 1874), 1117.] The cramp incorporates and strengthens the structural unison between the binding stone, its rubble neighbors, and the facia wall.


Figure 15: Lock 10 Close-up. Photo Credit: A. Charles Mastran

Figure Fifteen shows a complete “C” style cramp openly displaying its intended use.


Figure 16: Lock 10. Photo Credit: A. Charles Mastran

Figure Sixteen is included because it postulates an entirely different reinforcement strategy by which to impede lateral water movement within a chamber without the use of earthen overburden backing the chamber walls. This appurtenance is known as a tiered retreat or batter. Batter is an artificial slope created “to hold back the wet”.[58. Spons, Spons’ Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval, vol. 1, eds. Byrne and Spons (New York: E. & F. N. Spons, 1874), 266.]


Figure 17: Plan view of Lock 24, Sandy & Beaver Canal, Eastern Division, Elkton, Ohio: Surface Positions of Structures. (a) North Recess gate; (b) South Recess gate; (c) Rubble wall backing – note the ‘binder’ stone placed perpendicular to the E-W alignment of the rubble course; (d) Subsurface position headbay floor; in relation to a completed lock. One increment = 1m.

The positions of Structure A, Structure B, Structure C and Structure D (SD) relative to a completed lock. Structure D is now identified as the headbay floor.[59. Thomas Swiftwater Kemp and Emory L. Kemp, Canal Terminology of the United States (West Virginia University Press, 1998), 65.] The floor, unviewed and un-photographed due to constant water percolation, lay 47cm (18in) below the surface level of the pit base. Field workers shoveled, then scraped and tapped their way across the test trench. Joints within the stone matrix were not detected. A specific flooring material is undefined, yet, Major D.B. Douglas, the original surveyor of the line’s perspective route in 1828, remarked in a report dated February 1, 1830, that “the bottom of the ravine…is composed of rock, which, while they furnish in part, the material for the locks, will also afford an imperishable foundation for all the works”.[60. D. B. Douglas, “Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in U.S. Congress House Report No. 357, 21st Congress, 1st sess., 12 April 1830, 3.] However, in contrast to this assessment, Major Douglas also called for “extra rock” at the Lock 24 locale.[61. Ibid, 9.] It is not clear if “extra rock” is to be used for dam construction or the chamber or for both.


Figure 18: Elevation of Lock 24, View East.

The lock is posited at a right angle to the level surface of the terraced slope and rises well above the water level of the Little Beaver. Material removed to create the planular surface of the berm embankment and the chambres d’ecluse (chamber pit) was subsequently reconfigured into the towpath hillock. The chamber hollow is “cut to the oblique” of the sloping terrace, markedly changing the terrace’s description where “the ground has a declivity perpendicular to the canal, the quantity of stuff required for one bank is greater than for the other” and “this disparity may increase until one bank vanishes and only the lower bank is required….this case is called ‘cutting to the oblique’”.[62. Sganzin, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering, 171.] Moreover, the buildup of material encompassing the towpath over cedes the stone range works. The accumulation here defines a degree of ancillary protection from “freshets” or flooding water transgressing the entirety of the chamber environment. Indeed, the excavation technique served for “…..the mere purpose of obtaining a height to which a flood water can rise and this precaution must ever be held in mind as the only means of securing and rendering the work durable, when executed in positions liable to such accident”.[63. Millington, Elements of Civil Engineering, 694.]

Summary and Conclusions

A casual conversation between the chair of the anthropology department, Dr. John R. White (YSU) and property owners Pat Crystal and his son Pat Crystal II, resulted in the undertaking of a limited archaeology survey, via hand tools, of the locally established Lock 24 in Columbiana County, Ohio. Removal of surface vegetation and debris revealed a tri-lateral architectural union which included a broad berm embankment, a lock chamber entrenchment accompanied by two free-standing masonry quadratic lineaments, and an associated towpath hillock. The sum of these features constituted the site. All of these components traverse a west to east continuum directed to the Ohio River. When in full operating condition in 1846, under engineer William Milnor Roberts, these constructs comprised a documented guard lock of five feet lift within the established Eastern Division of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line, a feeder to the Ohio and Erie Canal.

An onsite empirical revue of Lock 24 revealed dimensional and architectural criteria previously established by the completion of the Erie Canal in New York state and this declaration is supported by the Nineteenth Century writings of M. I. Sganzin (1837) John Millington (1839) and D. H. Mahan (1855). In concordance with inland transport engineering of the times, the lock was comprised of composite materials which included engineer Edward H. Gill’s original specification (1834) of rail timbers and planking adjoined to smooth ashlar facia replete with rubble stone backing. All of the masonry range work was quarried within the vicinity of Columbiana, County, Ohio.

The lock is number “24” within the Eastern Division of the line that extends from “Lockbridge”, ostensibly a community located in Center Township, Columbiana County, to its terminus near Glasgow Pennsylvania. The Sandy and Beaver line was popularly memorialized in 1952 by co-authors R. Max Gard and William H. Vodrey Jr., and their tome is well known to students of the Ohio Canal Era.

Following clearing operations which removed all vegetation and detritus, above-surface features were measured, photographed, and mapped. Inspection of the standing ashlar quadratics revealed the remains of chamber wall recesses and their adjoining square quoin ancilla. In turn, the anterior west arris (edges) of both quadratics displayed remnants of what, architecturally, may be described as rabbets but are probably a version of stop plank grooves used to dam sections of the lock for repairs and/or inspection. Moreover, both features were embellished with the remains of wrought iron attaches or strapping, set into the bedding joints near the juncture of the chamber base and the first courses of stone above the chamber bottom (alveux). The attaches tied rail timbers that were stretched linearly along the chamber wall substructure to make allowance for the inclusion of regularly-coursed, smooth facia stone to be camp sheeted or lined with plank.[64. Ibid., 711.]

Soils in all tests, predictably, were overturned and non-stratified. These constituted a moist matrix of sands, clays, gravels, and grit interlaced with water smoothed, irregularly shaped cobblestones.

The surface of the chamber hollow is blanketed by a European form of Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis Sylvatica. The test between the opposing quadratics revealed a bedrock or masonry flooring, sans joints, which were determined to be the headbay floor. A fourth identifiable structure is the remains of coursed rubble wall backing used to support and strengthen the facia walls of the chamber. Correspondingly, the area and volume of excavated and manipulated earthen overburden formed during the lock’s construction period, was reformed and replaced to create the berm embankment and the towpath hillock. These two manuported earthen aspects served as the main features which were then integrated with the masonry range work and specifically designed to contain the lateral spread of water pressure bearing down within the lock chamber when new. This type of containment strategy is in marked contrast to the mega stone, tiered retreat system propagated by Lock 10 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, a pristine guard lock and a rough contemporary of Lock 24.

Earthen fill or overburden, as a structural integer, negated any other form of lateral wall support (by shear abundance) which could have been represented by buttresses or counterforts. These would have been placed “at the back of each of the walls, in the most vulnerable position behind the quoins to sub serve the objects in view.”[65. Mahan, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering, 332.]

The Lock 24 entrenchment has been heavily cannibalized. The major portion of the above-ground stone and timber constituents were lifted and carted away where they served as elements within a cottage industry dedicated to perform in other avenues situated in and around Lisbon sometime shortly after the sale of the lock’s parcel on March 6, 1854, when the parcel was appraised at one hundred dollars.[66. R. Baird Stewart and Betty Stewart, The Sandy and Beaver Canal: An Indepth Study. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart’s monograph was compiled and copied from a microfilm source stored in the Lepper Library, Lisbon, Ohio. The microfilm contained the 1854 sale of the Sandy and Beaver’s assets as advertised in the Ohio Patriot newspaper February 3, 1854.] Concurrently, no financial records could be located which could corroborate the lock’s final cost. Yet, during his initial survey, Major D.B. Douglas estimated the cost of the lock, “with dam” at $15,679.[67. D. B. Douglas, “Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in U.S. Congress House Report No. 357, 21st Congress, 1st sess., 12 April 1830, 9.]

Extricated stone and timber were allocated within the continually-changing rural environment circumventing the urban center of Lisbon, and this includes its use as a retaining wall on the Lock 24 Chophouse grounds. Authors Gard and Vodrey, Jr. attest to the lateral movement of prefabricated ashlar lock stone into the remodeling of the Columbiana County Courthouse as well as “barn foundations, watering troughs, (and) bridge abutments”.[68. Gard and Vodrey Jr., The Sandy and Beaver Canal, 173-175.] Appropriately, the stone also served the mundane role in lining Lisbon’s ubiquitous city sidewalks.[69. J. J. Bennet, Printer, The History of Lisbon: Centennial Souvenir Edition, 1803-1903 (Lisbon, OH.: J.J. Bennet, 1903), 163.]

The author believes that the Lock 24 range work was removed posthaste, possibly within a day or a few days. This contention is strengthened by the consistency in the overall width of the majority length of remaining towpath hillock. Set by the Erie Canal standard of twelve feet, in English terms, the hillock is missing a consistent four feet along its interior aspect beginning from the far eastern flank of Structure B. Further, the lock’s location at Elkton is not far from a main thoroughfare and this criterion would allow for a minimum in wagons, stock animals and labor costs to remove the stone, particularly since the alluvial terrace at this juncture is quite open and flat.

Labor and material costs to construct the lock were placed at a minimum in 1846. As conceived by Edward Hall Gill during his tenure as head engineer at the Sandy and Beaver (1834-1838),[70. T. Gibson Hobbs Jr., “Edward Hall Gill 1806-1868,” in Towpaths to Tugboats: A History of American Canal Engineering (York, PA.: American Canal and Transportation Center, 1982), 34.] the range works were to be “in good, well wrought mortar….the mortar shall be composed of proper proportions of good waterproof lime and clean sharp sand, the proportions of each to be determined by the engineer (in charge)”.[71. Edward Hall Gill, “Sandy and Beaver Canal,” in U.S. Congress House Document 141, 23rd Cong., 2nd sess., 9 February 1835, 126.] However, Gill had left the auspices of the Sandy and Beaver prior to the construction of Lock 24. In Gill’s stead, William Milnor Roberts assumed command for a time from 1845 to 1848.[72. Thomas F. Hahn, “William Milnor Roberts 1802-1882,” in Towpaths to Tugboats: A History of American Canal Engineering (York, PA.: American Canal and Transportation Center, 1982), 33.] It was under Roberts’ leadership in which Lock 24 was constructed of composite materials in 1846 and this excluded the mortaring of the vertical and horizontal joint array due to the added expense.[73. Gieck, A Photo Album of Ohio’s Canal Era:1825-1913, 202.] Hence, within the realm of Robert’s experiences and expertise as a civil engineer during the times, the expense of acquiring mortar to bind the range work was undue, and for the most part, not needed.

Lock 24, having a lift of five feet, was considered small in comparison with some of its peers. Indeed, “the smallest lifts are seldom less than five feet”.[74. Mahan, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering, 327.] Large locks held more water and “require[d] more care in their construction” and maintenance. The lift and size of a lock were important criteria for canal engineers. But these attributes could “….not be settled arbitrarily”, as the nature of the foundations, the materials used, the embankments around the locks…..are so many modifying causes, which should be carefully weighed before adopting a definite plan”.[75. Ibid, 327.] Roberts was well aware that at Lock 24’s location, the volume of stone—brought to equal or greater amounts as the earthen ramparts—coupled with the sheer weight of all integrated materials, sufficed to maintain the lock’s integrity.

The actual construction of the lock exemplified a stratified regime of at least three separate and known entities whereby a host of contractors creating locks and dams “were allotted separate contracts….after the channel route had been started”[76. Gard and Vodrey Jr., The Sandy and Beaver Canal, 33.] W.M. Roberts’ tenure as head engineer in 1846 oversaw specialized roles in which the Guthrie McCollum & Co., Jacob Petitt, and Thomas Baker all played parts in the evolution of the lock. At the same time, contractual division incorporated within the lock’s architecture adhered to the edict set by the Board of Public Works of the State of Ohio, which insisted on the dissemination of canal construction funding set for Ohio’s inland transport programs.[77. J.E. Haggerty, C.P. McClelland and C. C. Huntington, History of the Ohio Canals (1905), 22.]

Indeed, as is known, the standardized width for American inland canal lock chambers is set primarily at fifteen feet, because “the original dimensions of the New York Erie Canal and its locks [were] generally adopted for similar works subsequently constructed in most other states”.[78. Mahan, An Elementary Course of Civil Engineering, 338.] In his original specification, E. H. Gill maintained that dimension. The distance between Structure A and Structure B, in English, at 15.58 feet, generally coincides with canal lock building standardization and testifies to W. M. Roberts’ satisfaction of the dimension without variation, given the geomorphologic and riverine aspects of Lock 24’s location. Further, the singularity manifested by the binding stone supplementing Structure C’s course work reflects on E. H. Gill’s insistence that “headers…extending from the back into the wall four feet… At least so far as the face stone will permit them to extend, shall be so placed as to correspond with each course of the face wall, and so that one header from the back side shall extend in to each space between the headers of the face, the back and face headers interlocking with each other so as to bind the whole wall firmly together“.[79. Gill, “Specification for a Lock, Sandy and Beaver Canal,” 127.]

What was once an active architectural feature is presently stripped of its formal structural integrity and largely forgotten. Yet, the remainder’s existence belies the reluctance of salvagers to abstain from completely removing Lock 24 from memory. Further, the lock generally satisfied the architectural and economic machinations set by its builders and users during the main part of its performance period. Together with that, the positioning of its heavy stone reinforces an early engineering dictum which viewed “compression as a stabilizing force”.[80. Petroski, To Engineer is Human, 56.] The lock displays architectural criteria in size, shape and dimensions based on an engineering pedigree whose ancestry beyond Europe lies within the development of the Erie Canal, the design standard for American civil engineers. Lock 24 is a singular segment of an overall institutionalized engineering system involving scores of anonymous laborers. Further, the lock is a commonly produced and functionally redundant artifact. The lock facilitated the retention of water in order to provide a leveling surface for canal boats (packets) adjusting to ongoing elevation changes while traversing marshes, creeks, streams, and rivers. The lock exemplified the best way to overcome a landscape that hindered movement of goods and demographic distributions. These were the only problems the Sandy and Beaver engineers and sub-contractors had to solve. There was no need, in the minds of the lock’s builders, to innovate, and this conclusion led to its commonality. The lock provided a simple, but active architectural modification to the lay of the land via “the constant repetition of one concept”[81. Curl, Oxford Dictionary of Architecture.] which was completely dedicated to controlling American river transportation during the Nineteenth Century.

Lock 24 is not an example of diverse specialization, rather, it is an artifact defined by its connection between sedentary urbanization and agrarian outlands exemplified by Lisbon and Columbiana County, whose leaders sought economic growth. Lock 24 is a vision of practicality without aesthetic quality. The lock’s purpose is blunt and mundane. The lock defined a product situation coupled to landform which, conceivably, enhanced economic growth to become a fusion of “product and circumstance”.[82. Henry Petroski, The Evolution of Useful Things (New York: Random House, 1994), 231.] Therefore, Lock 24 helped to alter the behavior of a prominently rural economy and confirmed its place as an analog between business and simple technological advance designed to expand it. The lock had few criteria other than involving technology, function, and economy.

The remains of the lock, as that of an early blast furnace stack, either breeds a total sense of public ambivalence or they fill the interested with a sense of historical romance of a lost time which should be preserved, as is Shenango’s Lock 10. Lock 24 actually became a trove of information; a specialized, arbitrary object with clear associations and whose purpose is readily noted by lay people. Its intent is unambiguous. Among local populations in many parts of the United States, locks and blast furnace stacks are celebrated as a connection both to historic technology and the lives of anonymous working people. Folklorist histories abound in books and articles published by various historical societies. For some, the ashlar lines of most locks are neat and pleasing to the interested. Indeed, the blast furnace stack evokes the same appeal, as lay populations are generally uncritical.

Lock 24, as part of an architectural complex lining the Sandy and Beaver corridor, is a simple technological contrivance which furthered economic advance for a local community desiring a business linkage to its closest neighbor in the guise of Pittsburgh, and, finally, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


The author would like to express his gratitude to the Chrystal family, notably Pat Crystal and his son Pat Crystal II for their warm hospitality. It was by the Crystal family’s kind invitation that an archaeological inquiry of Lock 24 was enabled. The author would also like to extend his appreciation to Leah Rudy and the Lisbon Historical Society for allowing him access to the original accounts ledger of Charles D. Hostetter, Treasurer of the Sandy and Beaver Canal Company Line. In addition, it was the patience and endurance of Dale Wright, Marion Kutlesa and Debbie Zetts that won out while measuring, in detail, the lock’s quadratics. Thank you to Daniel Madden, Mike Reznor and Ken Mason for their mapping and drawing skills in the field and out. The author would bid thee cheers to the lock’s faithful mob, which includes Renee Marker, Chuck Creager, Patrick Carbon, Dick Gregg, Eric Johnson, Jill Little, “Dangerous” Dave Parker, Kathryn “Kaki” White, and David “Monet” Mauerman. Their work, as well as the author’s was politely overseen by our esteemed friend and mentor, the Chair Emeritus of Y.S.U.’s anthropology department, Dr. John R. White. Sadly, and with great remorse, the author must report the untimely passing of Dr. White. We will no longer be graced by his thoughtfulness, his understanding, his compassion, or of his gregariousness. Further, and with regret, the author must also announce the passing of Pat Chrystal II. His hospitality, warmth and good humor during our endeavors are missed by all.