History of the Lock

Black Rock Lock, approximately 1910, right after the last concrete was placed.

Black Rock Lock repairs, December 2019.

There has been a lock at Black Rock since 1833 when the state of New York built one as part of the Erie Canal. The present lock, constructed by the Corps of Engineers from 1908-1913, provided the capacity to accommodate large Great Lakes vessels.Through the years those vessels have carried commodities essential to business and industry in Western New York. Although a once-important traffic in iron ore has disappeared, a substantial amount of coal and petroleum products are still transported through the lock. In 1975, the first major rehabilitation of the lock was completed. Major rehabilitation of the guard gates and the operating system took place from 1984-1986. In 1991-92, cavities between the lock's concrete monoliths and the bedrock were filled with high pressure cement grout to stabilize the foundation. Since the mid ‘90’s, ongoing construction has included the widening and capping of all concrete approach walls, refurbishing of the lock houses, and the installation of new fencing, railing and ladders to provide a safer, more secure, work environment.