Leesport Lock House
Leesport Lock House
|Location||Wall St., Leesport, Pennsylvania|
|Architectural style||English Farm House|
|NRHP Reference #||77001123|
|Added to NRHP||June 09, 1977|
The Leesport Lock House is a house accompanying a lock on the Schuylkill Canal in Leesport, Pennsylvania, USA. The house was built adjacent to the Leesport Lock to allow canal barges to move quickly up and down the canal. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 9, 1977.
The Lock House is located on Wall Street in Leesport, Pennsylvania, on the east bank of the Schuylkill River. Adjacent the Lock House a car wash stood for may years, situated on the foundation of the lock. More recently the car wash was acquired by the Leesport Lock House Foundation and the car wash was removed. The lock walls can still be seen just above the remaining portion of the lower lock.
The Lock House is across the street from the Union Fire Company of Leesport and the ambulance station of the Schuylkill Valley EMS.
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.
The Lock House and surrounding grounds have been restored to their 1880-1910 condition and are maintained by the Leesport Lock House Foundation and the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department. The Lock House also hosts an annual Strawberry Festival and Antique sale in early June. The Lock House is also available for small social gatherings or group meetings.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.
- The Old Schuylkill Canal Association Website
- The location of the Lock House on Google Maps.
- The Leesport Lock House page at the Berks County Parks website
- Leesport Lock House at the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage website
- The Waterway
- History of Schuylkill Navigation
- WFMZ's 2008 Listing of the Leesport Lock House Strawberry Festival
- Leesport Lock House - Berks County Parks and Recreation
- Leesport Lock House Foundation - Facebook site
- National Canal Museum