Lock 3 of the Patowmack Canal - Great Falls, Virginia
These steps are located at the restored remains of Lock 3 of the Patowmack Canal, which was part of a series of 5 locks on the Great Falls portion of the canal. Used from 1802 to 1828, they lifted or lowered river boats the 75 feet the river drops going over the falls. George Washington originally oversaw the project from inception in 1785, until he became President of the U.S. 4 years later.
At the time, this was an engineering marvel, and the channel from the river had to be carved through solid granite rock at the lower end of the canal. It marked one of the first times that black-powder blasting was used in the U.S. for construction purposes. George Washington did not live long enough to see this project completed.