Union Mills Canal Outlet Locks No. 1 and No. 2

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Union Mills Canal Outlet Locks #1 and #2

Rivanna River at Union Mills.jpg

Looking downstream toward the locks
Nearest city Crofton, Virginia
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1850 (1850)
NRHP reference # 99001256 [1]
Added to NRHP October 14, 1999

The Union Mills Canal Outlet Locks No. 1 and No. 2 are a pair of locks along the route of a canal system that improved navigation on the Rivanna River in Fluvanna County, Virginia. Located near Crofton, these are two large locks fashioned out of dressed granite blocks. They were built between 1850 and 1854. [2]

Rivanna River river in the United States of America

The Rivanna River is a 42.1-mile-long (67.8 km) tributary of the James River in central Virginia in the United States. The Rivanna's tributaries originate in the Blue Ridge Mountains; via the James River, it is part of the watershed of Chesapeake Bay.

Fluvanna County, Virginia County in the United States

Fluvanna County is a county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,691. Its county seat is Palmyra.

Until the 1850s, canal and river transportation primarily employed batteaux, but mid-century saw the construction of towpaths to enable mules to pull boats. It was for this purpose that the Union Mills Canal and its outlet locks were constructed. The canal is approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long, with a lock and dam complex at the upper end; it runs on the right bank of the river. [3] :12

Towpath canal path for boat use

A towpath is a road or trail on the bank of a river, canal, or other inland waterway. The purpose of a towpath is to allow a land vehicle, beasts of burden, or a team of human pullers to tow a boat, often a barge. This mode of transport was common where sailing was impractical due to tunnels and bridges, unfavourable winds, or the narrowness of the channel.

Mule offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare)

A mule is the offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare). Horses and donkeys are different species, with different numbers of chromosomes. Of the two first generation hybrids between these two species, a mule is easier to obtain than a hinny, which is the offspring of a female donkey (jenny) and a male horse (stallion).

Bank (geography) in geography, area between high and low tide marks

In geography, the word bank generally refers to the land alongside a body of water. Different structures are referred to as banks in different fields of geography, as follows.

The outlet locks, situated at the lower end of the canal, are located just above the mouth of a small stream, Boston Creek, which nearby is dammed to form Lake Monticello. The lake is a resort community; although a footpath was built to the locks in 1984, it remains private property with limited access. One of the locks is in substantially better condition than the other: one is nearly invisible, thanks to silt buildup, while the other is well maintained and remains easily visible to the visitor who obtains permission to enter the property. [3] :13

Silt is granular material of a size between sand and clay, whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as sediment mixed in suspension with water and soil in a body of water such as a river. It may also exist as soil deposited at the bottom of a water body, like mudflows from landslides. Silt has a moderate specific area with a typically non-sticky, plastic feel. Silt usually has a floury feel when dry, and a slippery feel when wet. Silt can be visually observed with a hand lens, exhibiting a sparkly appearance. It also can be felt by the tongue as granular when placed on the front teeth.

The locks were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. [1]

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

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  1. 1 2 National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  2. "Historic Preservation" (PDF). Fluvanna County. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
  3. 1 2 Trout, W.E., III. The Rivanna scenic river atlas. Lexington: Virginia Canals and Navigations Society, 1995.