The Kentucky River waterway system is like some I've documented in Wisconsin: it was viable in the 19th Century for commercial navigation, but not in the 21st Century. But the first four locks of the 14 that were built are still operated for recreational boating. This site also has a table that provides the open and closed-to-navigation dates for each of the 14 locks. [AbandonedOnline]
The first steamboat traversed the river in 1815. "Locks No. 1–5 were built between 1836 and 1842 and Locks No. 6–14 were constructed during the second building campaign between 1891 and 1917." The federal government assumed control in 1880 and repaired locks 1-5, which had not been used since the Civil War. By the time the USACE finished building locks 6-14, they were obsolete because of the railroads and automobiles. After WWII, "the river became a recreational destination, and pleasure crafts replaced the barges and towboats of the past. The upper river locks remained open for limited seasonal use during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1986, the Kentucky River Authority was established by the Kentucky General Assembly to manage the operation of Locks No. 5–14, which were decommissioned in 1990. Between 1996 and 2006, the upper river locks were transferred from federal management to the Kentucky River Authority. Some freight traffic continued to pass through Locks No. 1–4 until 2002. The United States Army Corps subsequently leased the lower river locks to the Kentucky River Authority, who continues to manage the Kentucky River locks today." [finance.ky.gov-history]
Dams for which I have written notes:
|Jimmy Nickels posted
A simple drawing showing the origins and the 259 mile trek of the Kentucky River.
The North Fork begins in Letcher County, The South Fork begins in Clay County, and The Middle Fork begins in Leslie County. These three forks pick up various creeks and streams along the way.
The three forks converge at Beattyville in Lee County to begin the Kentucky River.
Along the way Northwest to meet with the mighty Ohio River, The Kentucky River picks up the Red River, Silver Creek, Dix River, and various other creeks and streams.
As it makes it’s way past Frankfort, it’s joined by Benson Creek and Elkhorn Creek.
The Kentucky River, a substantial force at this point, then flows into the Ohio River at Carrollton, Kentucky, making the mighty Ohio River even bigger.
Dave Bergman: While on the New River in WV, (another river that flows north) the rafting guide informed the group that since rivers cannot go over mountains, they must be older than the mountains that pushed up over time and ones the river now cuts through. That would make the KY and New Rivers two of the oldest in America.
Sam Adams: Dave Bergman I'm not sure about West Virginia, but the only true mountains, meaning thrust up, are Big Black, Pine, and Cumberland. The rest were created by erosion of the Cumberland Plateau.
Pattie Stivender: Dave Bergman New River is the second oldest river on earth.
Jim Wallace Gover: The St. Johns river in Florida is the only river in the US that flows north to the ocean. All rivers in Ky flow N to the Ohio.
|ymaws, p3 (report describes LD#9 repairs)
The improved resolution of the above made the following obsolete. But I did not delete it because I wanted to keep the references in the caption.
|finance.ky.gov-usace, at source resolution
This chart is also available in USACE-disposition. It is still hard to read the text, but at 200% I was able to determine that the lift for Lock #5 is 485-470=15'.
I had to search for a long time to find the basic information for a waterway: the minimum depth is 6' and the lock size is 145' x 38'. I found that information in this diagram:
[I wonder how much it cost to produce this report.]
Locks 1-5 were built in 1842 using timbercrib dams, stone locks and wood gates. The reason I checked the lift of Lock #5 was because I noticed how small the men at the bottom of the gates appear in this photo. Note that paddle gates in the lock gates that were used to empty the lock.
|finance.ky.gov-construction at 200% via KRA