Ohio River Lock No. 32

Ohio River Lock and Dam No. 32 Powerhouse

Ohio River Lock No. 32 is a former Ohio River lock near Vanceburg, Kentucky, in use by the United States Army Corps of Engineers from 1922 to 1964.


Ohio River Lock No. 32 was part of a 53 lock system built between 1875 and 1929 from the Mississippi River to the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 1 The site is located on a high terrace overlooking the Ohio River and included houses, a maintenance shed, and powerhouse.

Lock No. 32, constructed from 1919 to 1922, was built with a box cofferdam and was founded upon wood piles driven to refusal. 1 Thirteen pneumatic steel caissons were designed, fabricated and erected by Dravo’s Engineering Works Division of Pittsburgh and towed 372 miles to the dam site.

The lock was rendered obsolete when the Captain Meldahl Lock and Dam was completed downstream in December 1964. 1 2 The lock chamber and wicket dam were demolished soon after Meldahl opened.


Further Reading


[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]

  1. O’Bannon, Patrick W. “Caissons.” Working in the Dry: Cofferdams, In-River Construction, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Pittsburgh: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, 2009. 44-45. US Army Corps of Engineers. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. Book.
  2. “Captain Meldahl Locks and Dam.” US Army Corps of Engineers. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014. Article.



  1. Thanks for this. My grandfather was the lockmaster at this lock and dam from the early 1930s until it was demolished and he became lockmaster at the new Meldahl dam. My dad and his two siblings spent their entire youths there. The two sibling were actually born there. My grandfather planted most of the trees by the houses from saplings…sugar maples.

    1. BTW, I have a pic of how the entrance gate looked in 1963 when the place was still in operation, but I don’t see a way to show it to you here. Let me know if you would like to see it.

  2. Lots of good memories of family reunions that were held at the shelter just east of this building. Thanks for capturing some pictures of the location!

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