|Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove|
|Ohio and Erie Canal Lock 22, a historical landmark in Groveport, recently suffered damage believed to be caused by vandals.|
Ohio and Erie Canal Lock 22 has stood at its pastoral spot in Groveport for 177 years withstanding years of battering by canal boats, weather, and, in later years, the roots and brambles of brush after nature tried to consume it. Now it has faced another apparent foe – vandals.
Upon inspection by the Southeast Messenger on Nov. 26, recent damage to Lock 22 appears to involve one to two stones at the west end of the lock and one stone near the middle on top of the south wall that were possibly pried or pushed from above into the lock channel. As the stones at the west end fell, it appears they broke some stone blocks beneath them sending stone shards into the lock channel also. Another stone at the west end looked as though someone had dug around it trying to pry it lose, but that stone stubbornly remained in place.
Groveport Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Lund said he did not know when the damage occurred stating, "I noticed it while inspecting some trees on the path between Blacklick Park and Lock 22 this past week."
Lund said he and Parks and Recreation employees check the lock and the nearby trail regularly.
"It was probably done at night and if they (the alleged vandals) hear someone coming they could dive into the bushes and disappear," said Lund. "I’m disappointed in whoever did this. It’s a pretty cowardly thing to do."
Groveport Police Chief Gary York also stated his officers patrol the area regularly. He said his department has no further information on the incident at this time.
It is unlikely an effort will be made to reset the fallen stones as the machinery needed to do so could cause vibrations that could do other damage to the lock.
About Lock 22
Ohio and Erie Canal lock 22 is the only lock in Groveport and, besides sections of the original canal bed still visible on parts of the village’s landscape, it is Groveport’s only remaining direct physical, tangible link to its canal era past.
Built in 1830-31 by W. H. Richardson as part of of his $2,937 bid to build section 52 of the canal in Groveport, the sandstone lock is 117 feet long, 10 feet deep, with a 16 foot wide channel. The lock’s purpose was to raise and lower canal boats to meet the changing level of terrain. The first boats through its gates in 1831 were three visitors from the east headed for Columbus – the Red Rover, the Cincinnati, and the Lady Jane.
Volunteer efforts in the past few years by Boy Scouts, Gap Inc. Direct employees, and the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society, as well as workers from the village of Groveport, successfully cleared the overgrowth of brush and trees from the lock making the structure visible and accessible for viewing by the public. The lock is now a part of Groveport Park.
On July 25, 2006, an Ohio Historical Society historical marker was put in place denoting the lock’s historic significance to the village of Groveport.