Down many miles of winding, two-lane roads lies the community of Gest, Kentucky and the Kentucky River Lock and Dam No. 3. Constructed from 1836 to 1842, the dam supports a 23-mile long pool of water 42 miles from the mouth of the Ohio River. It was originally constructed of a timber crib structure, which consisted of an outside frame of timbers filled with dirt and rock with a lock built of stone masonry. It was rebuilt in 1882, modified in the early 1890′s, and again in the early 1900’s.
Over time, commercial river traffic on the Kentucky dwindled. Steamboats were replaced by passenger trains and then automobiles. Industries switched to freight trains and then trucks. All provided a level of service, efficiency and costs that were superior over river travel. Eventually, all locks below Frankfort – No. 5 through No. 14, were abandoned. The lockmaster houses were all closed by the early 1990’s and many were later demolished.
No. 3 continued to perform until 2007, when it was closed due to structural and mechanical problems. A renovation in 2012 saw the reopening of the lock to limited traffic three days per week. Check out more from Lock and Dam No. 3, including its full history »