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Town uses radar to locate piece of river history

Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:28:05 AM EST   Updated On: Sep 24 2013 06:55:36 PM EDT

A historic lock will be unearthed in Buchanan this fall

The Town of Buchanan is hoping to locate and unearth a historic river lock once used to transport boats along the James River.

View maps and photos of the original canal system.

The lock is an original piece of the James River and Kanawha Canal, a major river transportation line that ran along the James River from Eagle Rock to the Tidewater region of Virginia during the late 1700s.


Tuesday, Chris Printz from ATS International, an engineering company out of Christiansburg, was using a ground penetrating radar to locate the rock walls that were once part of the original lock.

The walls were exposed for more than a century until the 1980s when the town decided to cover them as people kept falling from the sides of the rock walls.

The Town of Buchanan is hoping to add the lock to its popular list of historic landmarks that date back to Civil War days.


The town of Buchanan in Botetourt County was one of the major ports along the canal, where supplies were brought in and transported to other communities throughout the region.

The lock is just down stream from the Wilson Warehouse located on Lowe Street, which was the distribution point for supplies. 

George Washington surveyed for the canal system, and while his intentions were good, the coming of the railroad eventually put an end to the river transportation and the plans to take the canal all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.