Published by the Sons & Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen
America's Steam & Diesel Riverboat Magazine

In our last Reflections Online, we were starting to see the beginnings of a canalized waterway on the Cumberland. In 1892 construction was finally underway at two locks & dams on the Cumberland below Nashville. Stone-filled timber crib dams were used, and the locks were built of stone with dimensions of 280 feet long by 52 feet wide, large enough to accommodate the steamboats operating in the Nashville trade. While it may seem strange that the project started in the middle of the river, Lock & Dam #1 provided a deep harbor for Nashville, the busiest port on the river. Traffic above Nashville consisted mainly of log rafts and coal barges floated down on the crest of a rise. Lock & Dam “A” covered Harpeth Shoals near the mouth of the Harpeth River, some 35 miles below Nashville. Harpeth Shoals was the major obstacle to navigation on the lower river.

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