The Locktender's House
Within two weeks the contract for the house had been let:
"Mr.John Bernard has contracted to build the house for a lock keeper at Oak Orchard immediately, at the dimensions ordered - the lower part to be lathed, plastered & completely finished - a cellar dug & planked & a chimney built of brick, for Four hundred & sixty five dollars - The house to be 36 by 20 feet on the ground & 1 1/2 story high - This is thirty five dollars [more] than Mr. Hammill's estimate; it was the best offer I could get & I think it as fair as it can be done."15
Exactly two months later, the house was finished.
"I went to Oak Orchard Monday to examine the house built there & found it completed. & on Wednesday I sent Ambrose Jones, one of our carpenters, with his family to live there & take care of the house. He is to work one month felling timber on the banks of the Creek & have wages as an axman - in case any work is to be done [on the lock] this winter he will of course be employed. I thought this the best method I could take to secure the house from injury until further orders from the Committee."16
The erection of this house is certainly of interest from the standpoint of the history of the Navigation Company. It is a physical measure of the determination of Schuyler to see Wood Creek thoroughly improved, thus benefiting commerce to the interior, as well as the future of his own canals. It is also significant for the details of construction which are recorded in the primary documents, being one of the first houses built in Verona, and one of only a couple built along Wood Creek at that time.