Looking across Turning Basin Blacksmith's Shop (left) and Upper Lock photo by: Ken Watson
At Jones Falls the water coming out of Sand Lake fell 60 feet (18m) over a series of rapids along the length of a winding mile long canyon, culminating in a final drop of about 30 feet (9.5m) at Jones Falls. The construction of the locks at Jones Falls, completed in 1832, represented one of the greatest challenges faced by the builders of the Canal. They overcame a drop of 60 feet (18m.) between Sand Lake and Cranberry Marsh (Whitefish Lake) using four locks, some with lifts of 15 feet (> 4m), a considerable lift for the time. The stone arch dam, 62 feet high (19m) constructed to hold back the waters of Sand Lake, was an engineering marvel for its day – the largest dam of its type in North America.
Defensible Lockmasters House photo by: Ken Watson
In 1841, the defensible lockmaster’s house was added on the heights above the basin and, in 1843, the blacksmith’s shop was built to facilitate repairs. Both buildings have been restored and provide interpretation; the lockstation itself is one of the most attractive on the system and appears much the way it did when first constructed in the 19th century. Beneath the waters behind the dam are the remains of a bridge built during construction to haul clay and rocks to the site.
At the foot of the locks is the Hotel Kenney, built in 1888 for local shippers and travellers and still operated today as a resort hotel for anglers and relaxers by the fifth generation of the Kenney family.
West of Jones Falls is the early settlement of "California", so named because it was the dream of some of its first setters to join the "Rush of '49" and find gold. The California school (South Crosby Ward, Lot 7, Con. 8), the Union Church (South Crosby Ward, Lot 8, Con.7), and the cheese factory are now all converted to private homes and along with original and rustic log homes; speak to our California's early history.