Shortly after the Ohio & Erie Canal opened in 1827, engineers realized more water was needed to maintain a constant four-foot level. They built the low-head Pinery Dam in the Cuyahoga River to direct water into a channel to “feed” the canal at Lock 36. This part of the valley is known as the Pinery Narrows because this skinny section once had abundant pine trees.
Canal locks such as this one once raised and lowered canal boats, acting like water-filled elevators. They were made of carved sandstone and lined (or “puddled”) with clay to keep them from leaking. But water takes its toll. Construction of the arched high-level bridge nearby also added to the debris in Lock 36.
From here visitors can go north or south on the Towpath Trail. A half-mile north, a horse trail veers off to the left. A short distance south, a connector trail leads to the Station Road Bridge Trailhead with exhibits, restrooms, drinking water, and a train station.