Lock 7 West
The Morris Canal was chartered in 1824. In 1831 the canal opened to through traffic from Phillipsburg to Newark. The first boat to travel from near Stewartsville to Newark and back passed through this lock. By 1836 the canal reached Jersey City for a total of 102 miles.
Lock 7 West near New Village was known as “Bread Lock”. The store at the end of the lock sold goods to the boatmen, including homemade bread and pies. The lock was also known at various times as “Fresh Bread”, or “Gardners” Lock.
Since the canal boats had no refrigeration and almost no storage space, fresh provisions were bought everyday. Locktenders often ran a store selling supplies to the boatmen waiting at the lock. At Lock 7 West, the Bread Lock, home made potato bread was offered for sale at a little shack located at the foot of the lock.
Boat captains would blow a conch shell to let the lock tender know the boat was approaching and for them to ready the lock. This view of the lock shows it empty and ready for boats going east to enter, the drop gate in the foreground is up. The elevation change for this lock was 10 feet. Since it took about ten minutes to go through the lock, mules could rest. When the canal was closed for the night, mules could be stabled in the barn adjacent to the canal..
At the head of the lock the water level was controlled by a drop gate. This gate swung down into a pocket in the bottom of the lock to allow boats to enter. The winch to raise the gate into the closed position can be seen to the right in front of the locktender’s house. A porch roof often covered the machinery and protected the locktender from the weather.
Today this site is owned by Warren County and is open to visitors during daylight hours.
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