Muskingum River Lock #7543 OH-376
McConnelsville, Ohio 45701
Muskingum River Lock #7
This historic park is part of the Muskingum River Lock system, the oldest lock system still in use in the United States.
This historic park is part of the Muskingum River Lock system, the oldest lock system still in use in the United States. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources manages the eleven locks alongside the Muskingum river and operates them by hand. Those who travel by river need these locks to navigate the many dams built on the river.
A tributary of the Ohio River, the Muskingum benefitted from the States’ early investment in canals and water travel. Construction of the lock and dam system began in 1836 and was completed in 1841. The locks enhanced travel and commerce on the Muskingum River and connected it to the Erie Canal at the city of Dresden. This system helped Zanesville rise to prominence, giving it a valuable shipping lane throughout the state. Like other parts of the state, railroads quickly usurped waterways as a preferred method of travel and commerce, leading to a neglect of the canal system. In 1958, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources took possession of the canal and began to restore the lock system. While the locks are mostly used for recreational watercraft, their continued operation preserves the legacy of Ohio’s canals.
The park overlooks the Muskingum River and has a shaded picnic area. Throughout the year, the lock is operated by a lockmaster to let watercraft through, presenting an authentic experience of the hand-operated locks.
Notes for Travelers
If you are traveling on the river, please check the ODNR website for when the lock is in operation.