Green River Lock and Dam #4

In ruins
Also known as: Woodbury Lock and Dam, Old Corps of Engineers Headquarters
Woodbury, KY on Woodbury Loop

Ruined Navigational Lock and Facilities of the Green River Slackwater System


Corps Headquarters and Workmens Office

Photo taken by Mike Page in July 2010




Situated at the confluence of the Green and Big Barren Rivers, Woodbury and it's Lock and Dam was the Kentucky Headquarters of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1912 to 1939. In that time Woodbury was a booming river town, with a Corps staff of over 80 men, Warehouses, a shipyard, a dredging fleet, and even running a maintenance and retrieval boat, the "Little Eddie". The slackwater navigation of the Green River began in 1839, with the complete slackwater system from Evansville, IN to Bowling Green, KY going into full operation in 1842.

Over the next 130 years there would be several disruptions of operation. One being the U.S. Civil war, where transportation routes such as this one were considered "must haves" by both armies. The slackwater system operated under several overseers, from private companies, the state, and finally the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until 1965. It was then that the original "timber crib" dam at Woodbury failed. An evaluation by the Corps of Engineers determined that due to the rapidly decreasing tonnage of cargo moving on the river, it would not be economically feasible to rebuild the dam. The facility remained staffed, but inoperable, until 1973. At that time, the Corps of Engineers placed the facility in "caretaker status" along with Barren River Lock and Dam #1, and shut down all operations at Woodbury. Studies on reopening, refurbishing and rebuilding the facilities were conducted well into the 1980's, with the determination finally made that the river would not be recommissioned.

Though Woodbury is not abandoned, the population as of the year 2000 was 87. The lock chamber itself is now the only federally owned property for safety reasons. The structures and the reserve have all been deeded to Butler County, KY and are in use as a park and museum.


19th Century (37,874)
Built 1839 (185)
Built during 1830s (2,714)
Butler County, Kentucky (13)
Dam (149)
District (10,529)
In ruins (318)
Kentucky (4,345)
Lock and dam (22)
Park (591)

Update Log 

  • July 29, 2010: Added by Mike Page