Ohio, Washington County
river mile 180
In the logo: Ohio: Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife.
On the sign: Lock & Dam 18 Ohio River Access; Public Fishing; Acquired from U.S. Government.
Belleville Locks and Dam, at river mile 204, replaced Locks and Dam 18 in 1968, as well as Locks and Dams 17, 19, and 20, and Dam No. 1 on the Little Kanawha River and Dam No 1 on the Muskingum River.
The Cincinnati Public Library has many photographs of the construction of this locks and dam in 1904, and at least one of the demolition of the outer lock wall sometime in the 1960’s.
Many of these former locks and dam sites have been repurposed as public parks. Some of them are well used; many, such as the Monroe County Park and Marina, at river mile 114 in Ohio, are elegantly constructed but could be better used. What we find here at the former Locks and Dam 18 is a secluded parking lot, some stairs, and a muddy path that leads right to the water’s edge. An odd edge, because the bank is metal plates interspersed with plants, and covered with river mud — the remains of some unknown part of the locks and dam. An intrepid camper or kayaker might stop here for a night and whack away the brush to create a campsite, but without water or sanitation, and down the slope from a busy highway, it would not be the most attractive possible place.
Field research: August 2014