Conner Photographing Canal Lock, James River Overlook - MP 63.4
James River Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway MP 63.4, elevation 649 ft - lowest on Parkway. Visitor Center on north side of river in Amherst County and restored James River & Kanawha Canal lock in Bedford County linked by pedestrian bridge beneath Parkway bridge. Canal was to link eastern Virginia and Ohio River; construction between 1785 and 1851 completed about 225 miles, about half of canal's planned length, reaching Buchanan in neighboring Botetourt County. Construction stopped because railroads had made the canal unnecessary. After operating until 1878, the canal was bought by Richmond and Allegheny Railroad, and tracks were laid on the towpath. A sign on site identifies the lock as Battery Creek Lock and reads, in part, “This lift lock, built in 1848, is 15 feet wide, 21 feet deep top to bottom, and 100 feet between gates. It lowered or lifted boats 13 feet allowing them passage to and from the river. The bottom is covered with original pine planking and walls are of local stone.” Grandson Conner is shown photographing the lock.