Joined by about 40 community members, the Leesport Lock House Foundation unveiled and dedicated a historical marker at the Leesport Lock House on Nov. 21.
The Leesport Lock House has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977 but did not have a historic marker so the Leesport Lock House Foundation applied for a $1,100 grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. After approval, the Leesport Lock House Foundation purchased and installed the marker.
“It shows people that pass by that the building is important and that it is listed on the National Register,” said Elaine Strause, president of Leesport Lock House Foundation. “The Leesport Lock House is proud to share this treasure of important history. The Borough honors the house and canal, using it on the borough seal.”
An important part of the Leesport and the Schuylkill Canal System in the 19th century, Leesport Lock House Foundation volunteers restored and maintain the Lock House.
Throughout the year, Lock House volunteers hold open houses for guided tours and host special events to inform the public of the importance of the canal system and the property.
Explaining the history of the local lock house, Strause said, “The Schuylkill Navigation Company needed to transport anthracite coal and lumber to the Philadelphia area. The Lock House was built for the lock tender and his family to live there and operate the locks so that the canal boats could navigate the terrain of the land. Samuel Lee's Port was the place to load and unload goods. Wagons were lined for miles to transport and receive goods.”
State Rep. Barry Jozwiak (R-Berks) and Sen. Judy Schwank (D-11) presented citations on behalf of the House of Representatives and Senate.
“This historic marker will draw more attention to the Leesport Lock House and further raise the profile of this local asset,” said Jozwiak. “We are blessed to have this national historic site in our area. The Schuylkill Navigation Company, which owned the Schuylkill Canal, played an important role in Berks County history. We want more people to hear and learn about the Leesport Lock House and its historic significance.”
“The new plaque represents Leesport Lock House Foundation’s dedication to preserving our history for future generations,” said Schwank. “There is so much more to history than just words to be read on a page, and preserving buildings like the Leesport Lock House is what makes history real.”
Following the dedication ceremony, about 100 people throughout the day came out for the annual Holiday Open House held at the Lock House. The event featured home-baked cookies and warm cider, country and bluegrass music by the band Days of Old, and Christmas-themed crafts to take home and create.
Schwank shared photos on Facebook from the event.
“Lots of folks turned out for the event including many dedicated volunteers. Elaine Strause, President of the Leesport Lock House Foundation, did a fine job organizing the dedication and open house,” posted Schwank. “My old friend and former president Beverly Miller gave me a private tour of the house. It’s been lovingly restored over the years and it truly looks like the last family that tended the locks on the Schuylkill Canal still lives there.”