SONGO RIVER, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The Cumberland and Oxford Canal was built to move products from western Maine to the port of Portland. It roughly followed the Presumpscot River from Sebago Lake through Standish, Windham, Gorham and Westbrook.
The canal required 27 locks to decrease the elevation by 267 feet.
A state lottery was held to help raise $50,000 for the project. Canal Bank was chartered. The bank remained in existence until the 21st Century.
The canal was a financial loser. Steam engines were being developed. Trains were quicker and actually required less manpower as goods on the canal were moved on flat bottom boats. Portions of the canal were in disuse by 1870.
The Songo Lock remains active and is a popular spot for boaters heading from Sebago to Brandy Pond and Long Lake.
The last lock of the 27-lock system, Songo Lock is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The lock will be operated during the state shutdown.