Lockport owes its existance to the fact "Flight of Five" Erie Canal locks that climbed the eighty-foot Niagara Escarpment here. This was the last and most difficult section of the Erie Canal, as the locks and the canal from here to Buffalo had to be carved into the surface of the very dense dolomite rock.
The workers were mostly Irish immigrants, attracted by the 80 cent-per-day wages (nearly double the norm for laborers at that time) plus perks. They were well supplied with whiskey and good meals. But they worked an average of 14 hours per day, had to sleep on unpadded bunks, and lived and worked with hoardes of mosquitoes with no protection, even while sleeping.