|Upper Brewers - Locks 43-44
photo by: Ken W. Watson
|Two locks in flight provide a combined lift of 19.4 feet (5.9 m). The photo shows the verdant lawns that are a hallmark of most Rideau lockstations.
This was originally known as Upper Brewers Mills, after John Brewer who established mills here in about 1819. Colonel By ended up hiring Brewer as the contractor to build the locks. Brewer however ended up in debt and ran off to the U.S. in 1831 (chased by his creditor), the locks were completed by Robert Drummond (who built Kingston Mills and took over other contractor abandoned locks at Davis and Lower Brewers)
Just upstream of Upper Brewers is one of the most significant sites on the Rideau Canal, a rocky narrows known as the "Round Tail." This is where the Cataraqui River, which had its headwaters in Loughborough and Dog lakes, turned 90 degrees and flowed south. It's also where a fellow by the name of Lemuel Haskins built a mill dam sometime prior to 1816 (likely before 1810). That dam blocked the flow of the Cataraqui River and backed it up all the way to Jones Falls. It, together with Haskins original dam at White Fish Falls (today's Morton) flooded the Cranberry Marsh, previously unnavigable, creating navigation by flooding, otherwise known as slackwater navigation. It appears that Brewer when he arrived on the scene got together with Haskins to build the Round Tail Dam higher, creating an extremely large mill pond which served both Brewer's mills and Haskins' mill.
Colonel By ended up building the entire Rideau Canal as a slackwater canal and in this location he used the old Round Tail dam as a coffer dam while he built his canal dam in the Cataraqui River just north of Upper Brewers.
For a full history of the Upper Brewers Locks see: History of the Upper Brewers Locks
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