Like Keokuk Dam, the Wilson Dam was built to provide hydroelectric power before the 9' inland waterway system was created. Unlike Keokuk Dam, which was built with private money, the Wilson Dam was built by the Federal Government to help create nitrates for explosives for WWI for $130m. Of course, by the time the dam was done, the war was over. TVA acquired these assets and converted them to fertilizer research and production. Lock #2 was at the upstream end of the Florence Canal next to the Wilson Dam, and it was a double-lock that provided most of the lift. But there was a Lock #1 at the downstream end of the canal that provided some additional lift.
|1936 Florence Quadrangle @ 1:24,000|
It is Lock #1 that we see in this photo.
|Kevin Lackey posted|
The Robin with 18 loads at Wilson Dam on the Tenn River
Bud Osbourne: 9 "Jumbos" & 9 "standards". Been a long time since I've seen a tow like that one!
CR Neale helped me reconcile this photo with what I saw at Wilson Dam:
Dan Owen had this photo in his collection and sent with this explanation: "This shows the ROBIN with 18 barges approaching Old Lock 1 on the Florence Canal before construction of a new 600-foot lock at Wilson Dam. This is in late November 1956 and the new lock went into service in 1959. You can see the deckhands out on the head of the tow getting ready to lock the first barge, yes, one barge at a time. It took them 21 hours to clear the lock. You can see the helper boat already in the lock to get on the other side to pull the barges."
["One barge at a time" explains how they got that tow around the bend with the swing span in the way and through a small lock.]
This is the original double-lift Lock #2 by the dam.
|Street View, May 2019|