Tidewater Connection Locks

In 1854 the Tidewater Connection Locks linked the canal basin to the James River tidewater below Richmond. The system contained five granite locks, each measuring 15 by 100 feet. This resulted in a flight of water stairs that lowered boats a total of 69 feet within a distance of three and a half blocks. A sixth lock, the Great Ship Lock, was located one and a half miles east near Pear Street.

Traffic on the canal peaked in the late 1850s following completion of the Tidewater Connection Locks. However, the canal suffered heavily with the expansion of railroads. In 1880 the canal was sold to the predecessor of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway System (now CSX) and the towpath was largely converted to rail beds.

  • Located on the Richmond Riverfront Canal Walk
  • Locks Nos. 4 and 5 preserved
  • More than 22 historic markers are within walking distance of the Turning Basin and Riverfront Canal Walk.


Along the Riverfront Canal Walk, a public park open from dawn to dusk