Canal Quarters Lockhouse 10

Photo (above): Lockhouse 10, 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of C&O Canal National Historical Park.


Welcome to Lockhouse 10!

The C&O Canal Trust's Canal Quarters program presents the opportunity for visitors to experience what it was like to live in a lockhouse along the C&O Canal.

Photo (left): House at Lock No. 10, taken some time prior to 1929. Credit: C&O Canal National Historical Park

Let's explore the Lock 10 area!


Lockhouse 10 is located approximately 100 feet below Lock 10 on the berm side of the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal. The lockhouse is located at mile 8.8 of the 184.5-mile C&O Canal in Cabin John, Maryland.

What is a "berm"? A berm is generally a bank of earth; in this case, it is the side of the canal where the towpath does not run.

Photo (left): West-facing side of Lockhouse 10 in 2022. Photo Credit: Visit Montgomery

Construction of Lockhouse 10 started in 1828 and was completed in May 1830. The total cost was $774.73. It was built of schist and gneiss rubble (local rubble stone). It is believed that the public quarries at Little Falls, MD provided the stone for the house.

Photo (left): Westward-facing side of Lockhouse 10 in 1893. Credit: National Park Service, National Capital Region Photograph Collection (P034), Courtesy People's Archive, DC Public Library, Washington, DC.

Credit (above): A Chronological Description of the Construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal 1828-1850, by Harlan Unrau, May 1976.

According to records, the first lock keeper to occupy Lockhouse 10 was Thomas Burgess in 1830. He was paid a salary of $150 per year to live there and tend to Lock 10 as well as nearby Lock 9.

Did you know that it was common for a lock keeper to manage more than one lock?

Photo (left): East-facing side of Lockhouse 10 in 1893. Photo credit: National Park Service, National Capital Region Photograph Collection (P034), Courtesy People's Archive, DC Public Library, Washington, DC.

The Lock Keepers of Lock 10

"It [Lockhouse 10] appears to have been occupied for most of its years by the Burriss [sic] family. Marshall Burriss was shown there on 1865 map, and a J.W. Burriss was living there in 1894. According to Mrs. Edith Armstrong, Locks 9 & 10 were operated in the 1900's by Victor and Virgie Hall, twins who lived in the lockhouse at Lock #10." -Michael F. Dwyer, Senior Park Historian, Maryland Historic Trust

Photo (right): Lock 10 looking westward. Records indicate this photo of the Lock 10 area was most likely taken sometime between 1910 and 1920. This photo is from the "Hicks" collection. Photo courtesy of C&O Canal National Historical Park.

Reuben Elwood “Pete” Hunter (1932-2006), a resident of Cabin John, recalled in a 1991 interview that, as a child in the late 1930s and 1940s, “we fished [in the river and canal], we swam. Up by Lock 10 was a favorite place. You could walk out 200-300 yards and just be up to your waist. We got great bass and perch. All the kids in Cabin John spent summers down by the water (Martin, 1995).”

What is your favorite childhood memory?

Photo (left): At Lock 10 on the canal looking eastward. Photo courtesy of C&O Canal National Historical Park.

The C.C.C. and Lockhouse 10

As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s, unemployed architects were hired by the Historic American Building Survey to document the canal’s historic structures. When the U.S. Government officially purchased the canal in 1938, President Roosevelt established two Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C.) camps just two miles upstream from Lockhouse 10. The C.C.C. was a national program designed to provide jobs and education for unemployed men after the Great Depression, with a focus on parks development and conservation of natural resources.

Did you know that the men in the C.C.C. were sometimes referred to as New Deal workers?

Photo (right): Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, Lockhouse at Lock 10, Cabin John, Montgomery County, MD by the Historic American Building Survey. Credit: Library of Congress

Setting Up Camp in Cabin John, MD

NP-1-MD housed Company 325, and NP-2-MD housed Company 333. Together the two camps housed approximately 400 African American enrollees between the ages of 18 and 25. These young men earned $30 per week in exchange for performing manual labor along the canal by clearing debris and vegetation, gathering supplies for stone masons, grading the towpath, repairing damaged locks, and assisting with rehabilitating a few lockhouses.

Photo (right): GIS mapping showing the location of Camp NP-1-MD and NP-2-MD. Credit: Trott, 2021.

Photo (above): Aerial photo of Camp NP-1-MD. Photo courtesy of C&O Canal National Historical Park.
Photo (above): Aerial photo of C.C.C. Camp NP-2. Photo courtesy of C&O Canal National Historical Park.
Wayside sign.

Rehabilitation of Lockhouse 10

Lockhouse 10 is one of three confirmed lockhouses along the canal that the C.C.C. had a hand in rehabilitating. "They added a new kitchen and dormers. In the as-built drawings, a bathroom should have been added in the middle of the second story, between the two bedrooms. However, today the bathroom is located in the northeast corner of the second floor at the top of the stairs. Where the bathroom should have been located in the 1939 rehabilitation, is now a closet with the HVAC unit" (Sirna, 2011).

Original hardware like door hinges were found in Lockhouse 10, and these were used to replicate hardware for other structures. Workers filled in the joints of the stonework and the exterior was specified to be whitewashed (Sinai, 2011).

Photo (above): Hardware on doors of Lockhouse 10.

Photo (left): Lockhouse 10 in 1938-1939. Photo courtesy of C&O Canal National Historical Park.

C.C.C. programs across the nation came to an end in 1942 mainly due to the involvement of the U.S. in World War II. Camp NP-2-MD closed in late 1941, and Camp NP-1-MD was converted into a defense camp in April 1942. The men of these camps transformed the future of the canal, and in return, the camps provided educational opportunities, job experience, and skill training that transformed the lives of the men.

Photos (right): The covers of the March and June 1939 Towpath Journal - a "newspaper" published by the men of C.C.C. Company 333. Credit: Virginia Chronicle Digital Newspaper Archive, Library of Virginia

Scenic and Historic Preservation

The National Park Service (NPS) performed restorations to Lockhouse 10 in 1963. In 1971, the C&O Canal became a National Historical Park.

Lockhouse 10 was continually used to house park service employees into the 1990s.

Photo (left): Lockhouse 10 in 1975. Photo credit: Michael F. Dwyer

Fun Fact

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush was an avid jogger and was seen running on the towpath during his time as Vice President (1981 - 1989) under former President Reagan. He is pictured (left) warming up before a jog at Lock 10.

Photo: “President Bush at Lock 10”. Credit: Joan Paull, NPS

Now that you know the history, let's talk about present-day!

Today, as one of the lockhouses in the C&O Canal Trust's Canal Quarters program, Lockhouse 10 is available for visitors to enjoy a unique, interpretive, overnight experience. For a fee, visitors can book a stay for one or more days.

Lockhouse 10 is one of the "modern" lockhouses available in the Canal Quarters program - meaning it has electricity, indoor plumbing, and HVAC system (heating, ventilation, air conditioning).

This 1934 brochure hangs framed on the wall in one of the upstairs bedrooms in Lockhouse 10. (Image credit: Western Kentucky University)

The furnishings in Lockhouse 10 are evocative of the 1930s time period, and the decorations interpret the era of the New Deal and the C.C.C.

Located in Lockhouse 10, this wooden C.C.C. chest was found at an estate sale and originally belonged to a George Washington University graduate who served as a doctor at a C.C.C. camp in Pennsylvania.

A cozy screened-in porch is on the east-facing side of Lockhouse 10 - perfect for enjoying relaxing evenings along the towpath.

The front of Lockhouse 10 faces the towpath.

What a quaint, inviting house! Wouldn't you like to stay there?


  • Lockhouse 10 Jigsaw Puzzle (online only)
  • Suggested Reading List
  • Lockhouse 10 Word Scramble
  • Lockhouse 10 Word Search
  • Lockhouse 10 Crossword Puzzle
  • Lock 10 Scavenger Hunt

Supported in part by a grant through the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.