Oswego Canal Locks

There are seven locks on the Oswego Canal, numbered 1-8 with no lock number 4. These locks and associated dams and spillways cannalize the Oswego River from the Erie Canal at Three Rivers to Lake Ontario.

Contents

Lock 1

Lock O1 is on the southern end of the Oswego Canal two miles south of the junction with the Erie Canal. The lock is located in the middle of Phoenix and lifts and lowers boats 10.2 feet. The lock master can be reached on VHF radio channel 13 or by phone at (315) 695-2281.

Lock 2

Lock O2 in Fulton is 10 miles north of Lock O1 and raises and lowers boats 17.8 feet. The lock master can be reached on VHF radio channel 13 or by phone at (315) 592-4155.

Lock 3

Lock O3 is also in Fulton where it raises and lowers boats 27 feet. The lock is located approximately one half mile north of Lock O2. The lock master can be reached on VHF radio channel 13 or by phone at (315) 592-5349.

Lock 4

There is no lock 4. Initial designs called for Lock 8 locks, numbered 1-8, but subsequent changed in design allowed it not to be built. Rather than renumber the hand drawn blueprints, the engeneers decided to just skip the lock number. There are similar locks omitted on the Erie Canal and Champlain Canal.

Lock 5

Lock O5 is located in Minetto six miles north of Lock O4. The lock raises and lowers boast 18 feet. The lock master can be reached on VHF radio channel 13 or by phone at (315) 343-5232.

Lock 6

Lock O6 is located in the city of Oswego four miles north of Lock O5. The lock raises and lowers boats 20 feet. The lock master can be reached on VHF radio channel 13 or by phone at (315) 343-9001.

Lock 7

Lock O7 is located in the city of Oswego only a half mile north of Lock O6. The lock raises and lowers boats 14.5 feet. The lock master can be reached on VHF radio channel 13 or by phone at (315) 343-6304.

Lock 8

Lock O8

A closeup of a lower side siphon, notice how large it is!
Location: Oswego Canal
Nearest Town: Oswego
Phone Number: (315) 343-0280
Lift: 11.1 feet
Town north: Oswego (0.25 miles)
Lock south: Lock O7 (0.5 miles)
How to Lock Through

Lock O8 (O-8) marks the beginning of the Oswego Canal and lifts boats from Lake Ontario up the Oswego River approximately eleven feet. Lock O8 is very unique in that it was originally constructed as a siphon lock, the only one installed on the canal system. This lock, along with the lock at Little Falls (Lock E17), were the only two significantly different locks along the entire canal system. The lock is located one half mile north of Lock O7 and can be reached on VHF radio channel 13 or by phone at (315) 343-0280.

Lock History Oswego Canal Lock 8 was first operated on May 28, 1910. Its operation was first difficult as the siphon principle had bugs in the system. After working these out, the lock was considered a success and remained mildly reliable and easy to operate by manipulating a 4-inch air valves.

Rather than using the standard large valves to control the flow of water in and out of the lock, it was built using siphon principle to "suck" water in and out of the lock. The one difficulty with the siphon principle is that is required a vacuum to remain present in its tank so that the next lockage could be conducted. Unfortunately the lock could not hold this vacuum for more than a few hours and thus required the shutting of the 20" outlet valves of each siphon. In 1943 a vacuum pump was added so that at any time the vacuum could be restored.

The lock properly operated in this fashion for some time, but in 1968 was converted to typical electric valves for operation and now operates and visually looks similar to all other locks along the canal system.

The view of the original Lock O8 with the siphons.
The view of the original Lock O8 with the siphons.  
A diagram showing the layout of the original siphons.
A diagram showing the layout of the original siphons.  

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