Leesport Lock House - History

History

The Lock House was originally built in 1834 by the Schuylkill Navigation Company. The Schuylkill Navigation Company was chartered to build a series of navigation improvements in the Schuylkill River, allowing coal from the Coal Region to be delivered from Port Clinton to the ports in Philadelphia. The Schuylkill Navigation Company was the only means of carrying coal en-masse to Philadelphia for twenty years, until the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad was completed in 1841. Within only four years, the railroad was hauling three times the amount of coal as the Schuylkill Canal.

Although the canal continued to carry nearly two million tons of anthracite up through 1859, the Reading Railroad continued to transport more than the canal. In 1860, use of the canal started to decline. In 1869, a coal miners strike caused a shortage of material to be transported, a drought saw a severe drop in water levels in the canal, and severe flooding later damaged many portions of the canal. The Schuylkill Navigation Company struggled to find money to repair the damage, until it was ultimately leased to the Reading Railroad in 1870. By 1890, traffic on the canal was carrying less than a tenth of the cargo as it had during its most prosperous years.

However, the Lock House remained a symbol of economic growth in the Leesport area. Ultimately, both the canal and the railroad served to develop Leesport's economy.

Read more about this topic:  Leesport Lock House

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