The Amazing Miniature Lock-And-Dam Between Middle Eau Claire Lake and Lower Eau Claire Lake
Renovated lock and dam between Middle Eau Claire and Lower Eau Claire Lakes (Barnes, Wisconsin)
One of my favorite local attractions is this miniature, fully functional lock and dam that allows canoes, kayaks, and small fishing boats to travel between Middle Eau Claire Lake and Lower Eau Claire Lake. Impatient paddlers just portage around it; that’s generally quicker than waiting for the lock to fill or empty.
But this tiny lock and dam is still quite an amazing bit of infrastructure. At the time it was built, most anglers were satisfied with smaller boats and motors. Back then, this lock and dam was big enough to simultaneously lock through two normal-sized fishing boats. Lately it’s been showing its age, and it recently underwent major repairs and renovations. So here’s a fresh video of our minty-fresh lock and dam.
It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. It’s right under the bridge on South Shore Road, just a short distance off County Road Y. So the next time you’re in Barnes, check it out.
And by the way… If you’d like to call this neighborhood home, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’d be glad to help you find the lake home or cabin of your dreams. Jean Hedren, Edina Realty, Barnes, WI. www.JeanHedren.com
It’s a miniature, hand-operated lock and dam that was built in the 1930s as part of the New Deal program. Completed in 1939, it has the same gates and valves as you’d see at one of those mega-locks on the Mississippi. It’s just a little smaller, and everything is operated by hand. As far as I know, there are very few like it in the entire country.
The lock itself is about six feet wide and thirty feet long. When it was built, that would have been considered plenty big enough. After all, it could lock through two fourteen-foot fishing boats at the same time. Although impatient canoeists and kayakers sometimes just portage up and over South Shore Road, it only takes a few minutes to lock on through. If you’re paddling in the neighborhood, or motoring about in a small enough fishing boat, give it a try sometime. Or, just stop and check out this rare and fascinating piece of transportation technology.
Here are a few more shots from different angles. Enjoy!