LOCKINGTON — Lockington Mayor Tracy Johnson has announced that a part of the village of Lockington’s celebration of Shelby County’s Bicentennial would include an educational component. Three speakers will make presentations about significant events in local history.
Those events include the building of the Lockington Locks and the significant role the locks played in the success of the Miami & Erie Canal, the construction of the Lockington Dam and the significant role it continues to play in flood control as part of the Miami Conservancy District, and the construction of the Great Miami River Recreational Trail, and the role it can play in Lockington’s future.
“The three presentations will address opportunities from our past, our present and our future,” Johnson said. “The topics have been especially chosen as a way for both residents and visitors alike to learn about our strategic location, and Lockington’s role in Shelby County’s history.”
“Johnston Farm Site Director Andy Hite will speak about the Lockington Locks,” Johnson said. “The Lockington Locks have been owned by the State of Ohio since they were constructed, and are now one of the 58 sites and museums owned by Ohio History Connection and managed by the Johnston Farm Friends Council.”
The Lockington Locks are a series of seven locks that were at the southern end of what was known as the Loramie Summit. The Loramie Summit was the highest point on the Miami & Erie Canal. The canal extended from Lake Erie to the Ohio River. As canal boats came north to Lockington, they were lifted 67 feet through the series of locks. The reverse was true for boats traveling south.
Boats would typically take several hours to pass through the locks. The village of Lockington (originally named “Locksport”) was founded to provide services (both legal and illegal) to idle boatsmen and passengers.
“A representative of the Miami Conservancy District (MCD) will talk about the district’s five dams,” Johnson said. “MCD Assistant Chief Engineer Don O’Connor will concentrate his presentation on the Lockington Dam, the northern-most of the five dams that are maintained by the Miami Conservancy District.”
The MCD was created as a result of the Great Flood of 1913. As early as 1805, Dayton was inundated by the Great Miami River. The river overflowed its banks somewhat regularly, with flooding documented in 1814, 1828, 1832, 1847, 1866, 1883, 1897 and 1898.
As can be seen by the frequency of the flooding events, the Great Flood of 1913 was unlike any that preceded it. The flood caused more than $100 million in damages and killed 360 people.
Those who survived the tremendous devastation were determined to ensure that the river could never again create such devastation. Soon after the flood, residents raised enough money to hire a young engineer named Arthur Morgan to develop a solution. The Miami Conservancy District was officially formed in 1915. The district’s staff built the flood protection system of five dry dams, 43 original miles of levees and channel improvements between 1918 and 1922. An additional 12 miles of levee were constructed later.
The Lockington Dam is located on Loramie Creek just north and west of the village. It is 6,400 feet long and 69 feet high. The drainage area above the dam is 255 square miles. The dam can impound water not only from Loramie Creek, but a number of other streams above the dam. It would take seven days to empty the retarding basin after a maximum high-water event, as the basin can store nearly 23 billion gallons of stormwater.
“Our final speaker of the afternoon will be MCD Manager of Watershed Partnerships Dr. Sarah Hippensteel Hall,” Johnson said. “Sarah will talk about the extension of the Great Miami Recreational Trail, the important role that the trail can play in not only Lockington’s future, but the future of the entire region.”
The Great Miami River Trail currently consists of 57 miles of paved trails connecting Franklin, Miamisburg, West Carrollton, Moraine, Dayton, Huber Heights, Vandalia, Tipp City, Troy, and Piqua. There are also segments of the trail completed in Middletown, Hamilton and Sidney.
The Great Miami River Trail currently connects to the Wolf Creek Trail, the Mad River Trail, the Stillwater Trail, the Ohio-to-Indiana Trail and the Dayton-Kettering Connector. In all, there are more than 350 miles of paved recreational trail.
“The Lockington celebration will take place on September 29, 2019, from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.,” Johnson said. “The Lockington Fire Department will be providing food for visitors, and we’ll announce additional activities shortly.”