History of Chaffeys lockstation

Rideau Canal National Historic Site

Specifications of the lockstation

One lock with a lift of 3.4m (11.2 feet).

The Construction of the lockstation

The contractor for this station was John Sheriff & Co. They were represented on-site by John Haggart, a stonemason from Perth.

In about 1820, Samuel Chaffey settled at this location and, together with his brother Benjamin, built an impressive mill complex that included a mill dam, distillery, carding mill, sawmill and a grist mill. After Samuel Chaffey died of malaria in 1827, Colonel By purchased the mill complex from Samuel’s widow Mary Ann and his brother Benjamin and removed it to make way for the canal works.

Similar to many of the lockstations, particularly those in the southern section of the route, malaria plagued the construction project. As well, the project was slowed by the lack of a local quarry. Sandstone had to be hauled 9 km (6 miles ) from a quarry at Elgin.

Structures of the lockstation

Lockmaster's House: A stone one-storey defensible lockmaster's house was built sometime between 1844-1847. Its purpose was to protect the lockstation from American attack as well as providing accommodation for the lockmaster's family. In the latter part of the 19th century, a frame second storey was added to the house. The building continued to be used as a residence until 1964. Today it is a museum operated by the Chaffey's Lock and Area Heritage Society.

Engineering Structures: The original plan for Chaffeys lockstation called for two locks and two dams. The plan was altered resulting in the construction of a single lock and a waste weir. In 1884 a wooden swing bridge was built over the lock. It was replaced by a steel swing bridge in 1949. That bridge was replaced by the present steel swing bridge of similar design in 2015.

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