Old Hickory Navigation Lock

Nashville District
Published Jan. 12, 2024
Cheatham Navigation Lock aerial view

Cheatham Navigation Lock

Old Hickory Lock is located at Mile 216.2 on the Cumberland River and is approximately 11.5 miles northeast of Nashville, TN.  Old Hickory Lock is open to pass navigation traffic 16 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The lock is closed nightly between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

 Old Hickory Lock was opened to navigation traffic in June 1954.  The lock chamber is 397 feet long and 84 feet wide.  During normal lake levels, the lock will lift a boat 60 feet from the river below the dam to the lake above the dam.  The lock releases over 15 million gallons of water each time is emptied.

The lock is named after President Andrew Jackson.  Andrew Jackson, the Seventh President of the United States, was nicknamed “Old Hickory” because of his toughness and brash personality.  Orphaned at age 14, Jackson’s toughness and intelligence saw him through tough times in the wilderness of the Southwest Territory, an area that would eventually become Tennessee.  He was elected as one of Tennessee’s first U.S. Representatives to Congress and later appointed as a Judge to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1804.  About that same time, he purchased a 640-acre plantation near Nashville that he named “The Hermitage”.  At that time, the Hermitage was less than two miles from the Cumberland River.  This made it ideally suited for shipping the cotton that was the plantation’s major crop.  The Hermitage eventually grew to over 1000-acres.  The Hermitage is only six miles from Old Hickory Lock.