This house was built in 1855 by the Coal River Navigation Company for the lockmaster of Lock #1 at Coalsmouth. Changed somewhat today in appearance, It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 along with the 9 lock remains.


  • House today
    House today
  • Lock #1 on Coal River (now submerged) about 1890s
    Lock #1 on Coal River (now submerged) about 1890s

Coal River Locks and Dams and Log Booms (Historic District) - c.1855 (1997).  With the discovery of coal in Boone County in the 1850’s, a series of locks and dams were built on Coal River from Coalsmouth to Peytona. Cannel coal was shipped by steamboat to Cincinnati where the greasy coal was refined to make fuel oil for lamps (coal oil). Passengers also traveled the packet boats daily. The Coal River could be traveled nearly 30 miles up stream to Peytona. A record flood in 1861 nearly wiped out these stone and log locks. Today, only one complete dam remains at Tornado. It was rebuilt to operate a gristmill. The lockmaster’s house, built in 1855, remains in town near lock one, but the lock is now under water.The Coal River & Western R.R. once pasted near the home (1906-1927) and R.R. ties have been recovered. Another lockmaster's house is located in Tornado at Lock site #3.

St. Albans Historical Society "Coal, Steamboats, Timber & Trains" by Bill Dean, 2007