Old Erie Canal Lock 33 is a double-chamber lock, with the south chamber double-length on the head (western) end. It had a lift of 6.031 feet to the west. It was built in 1838-1840, and the south chamber was lengthened in 1887-1888. When the Erie Barge Canal was constructed between 1905 and 1918, most of the older Erie Canal was either destroyed or abandoned.
The 1960s brought a renewed interest in history, and legislation introduced in 1966 laid the groundwork for creating a state park along the old canal. Still, the enlarged double locks at Minden were used as an unofficial garbage dump as late as 1999. A volunteer team led by Terry Potoczny spent countless hours cleaning tons of junk, recording a partial inventory that included 125 tires, a snowmobile, a motorcycle, assorted bicycle parts, refrigerators, kitchen stoves and a television.
Today, there is a historical marker, interpretative signs and picnic tables at Lock 33 along the paths and trails of the modern Erie Canal. At the eastern end a dirt ramp allows visitors to climb the stairs and view the lock from atop the central divider. When in actual use, the stairs would have led down to the water level.
Thanks to the efforts of the volunteers, the site serves as a link to the past and a recreational respite. It is accessible next to the bike path on Bridge Street, 3/4 mile down Dump Road (a dirt road) on the south side of the barge canal across from the village of St. Johnsville. A sign on Bridge Street marks the entrance to the road.
Dump Road, Minden