The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Site is located in Potomac, Maryland right near Georgetown. The Canal is part of a 19th century public works project that sought to connect the Potomac River with the great lakes. The canal was operated despite the fact that it did not reach the intended length to end in Ohio. The canal at the park is now used for tourist boat rides and recreational activity. The park stands as both that and a reminder of pre-modern transportation.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was built in 1828, with the
intentions of linking the tidal basin of Washington, DC to that of the Ohio
River on the Western Border of Pennsylvania. This right around the time that
the Erie Canal in New York was constructed and opened. The C&O Canal was to
be used mostly for shipping up to this area. The commissioning of the first
phase of the canal was done by-then President John Quincy Adams. However, the
canal in full was not complete until 1850, when it reached Cumberland,
Maryland. The Baltimore &Ohio
Railroad was built in conjunction with around the same time.
canals heyday was from that point on into the early 20th century. In
the Civil War, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal would be used mostly for the
transportation and shipment of coal. However most of this would fall to the
B&O railroad after the war had ended. In addition to that several floods
would ravage the area and then eventually forcing the B&O railroad to buy
the canal from the original company that had owned it. The final blow to its
operations would occur in 1924 when another devastating flood destroyed much of
the equipment on the canal, in which all active use of the canal ceased.
decade later, the canal would be sold once again. This would not be to another
private company but the US government. The government would put the National
Park Service (NPS) under it where it remains right up to this day. It would
declared a National Monument in 1961 and ten years later it was declared a
National Historic Site. Since then, it has remained open to the public as such.
the park is frequented by numerous tourists. One of the most popular activities
is the tour boat ride that takes visitors through the canal showing the history
of it. The locks, aqueducts, and dams that were originally built in the 19th
century still stand. Other come for a simple recreation activities along the
canal such as biking or hiking along the trail. The Chesapeake & Ohio
National Historic site stands out as an important site for the memories of 19th