The construction of Lock and Dam No. 1 was completed in 1917. The 30-foot high dam provided 9 1/2-foot channel from St. Paul to Minneapolis. Reconstruction of the dam took place in 1929 and then again from 1978 to 1983.
Lock and Dam No. 1 is one of the steps in the "stairway of water" on the Mississippi River that makes possible the travel of barges from St. Anthony to the Gulf of Mexico. Commercial barges carried over 15 million tons of commodities through the Lock. Among the commodities are: coal, burner oils, grain, and aggregate products.
Lock and Dam No. 1 provides for both commercial and recreational uses. Along with the commercial barges are recreational crafts ranging from canoes and rafts to houseboats and sleek powerboats.
There is a 30-minute tour called the Visitor Promenade offering a bird's-eye view of the locking procedure and other topics ranging from barge traffic in the transportation network to the Corps 9-foot channel project.