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First Lock: Light’s Mill
The first dam and lock was the first completed and the closest to the City. It’s impoundment stretched more than 3 miles up stream to where South Duke Street now crosses the Conestoga. The romantic allure and civic pride of a dam like this spanned the decades. Even into the second half of last century, Earl Rebman proposed the reconstruction of the dam.
As 1999 ebbed into 2001, a small group of folks worked to commemorate the location by petitioning for a PHMC blue-and-yellow marker. It stands there today along New Danville Pike (SR 324). Unfortunately, this stalwart band hadn’t come to the realization that the lock was actually on the other side of the Conestoga. What they thought was the lock was actually the remains of the head race for Levan’s Flour Mill.[Insert R010125.jpeg]
Piers of a railroad bridge that was used to transport flour from Levan’s Flour Mill to a rail line on the other bank are also still visible in the bed of the Conestoga. The dam itself had a lift height of seven feet, which spread out the water to a width of 265 feet.
One of the more interesting events that took place at Lock One was a grand celebration upon its completion in 1827. A group of men boarded a canal boat at Reigart’s Landing and were pulled to Lock One, where they were met by a group of women with flags and cheering. A band celebrated their arrival with the playing of “national airs.” They went down in the lock, rose again by means of the very same lock and were lugged all the way back to Graeff’s Landing. No doubt some adult beverages and tasty combustibles were consumed along the way.
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