James River & Kanawha Canal, South River Dam & Lock, Maury River, Lexington, Lexington, VA
Significance: Located on the western bank of the Maury River (formerly the North River) approximately one-quarter mile upstream from its junction with the South River. In its present condition, the dam is approximately 200 feet long and 6 feet in height and is constructed out of rough and smooth cut granite laid up in running bond. The lock is of similar construction and is approximately 15 feet wide and 100 feet long. Only the western section of the dam still exists, as the river has been allowed to return to its natural level. However, the lock remains in the original condition except for the absence of the wooden gates. According to Dr. William Trout, III, the South River Dam and Lock were part of a canal system designed to link Lexington, Virginia, with the James River. Construction of this system began following the organization of the North River Navigation Company in 1841. Work continued until 1858 when the still unfinished works were bought by the James River and Kanawha Company. Following this transaction, work on the canal was reinstituted and, by 1862, the route was navigable and complete. Dr. Trout states the South River and Dam and Lock were built circa 1859.
Survey number: HAER VA-22
Building/structure dates: 1859 Initial Construction