Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

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Back to West Virginia to Ohio to Maryland Delaware to Virginia

History

Construction on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (also known as "the Grand Old Ditch" or the "C&O Canal") began in 1828 but was not completed until 1850. Even then, the canal fell far short of its intended destination of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Instead, the canal terminated at Cumberland for a total distance of approximately 184.5 miles. The canal was already considered obsolete by the time it was completed because a railroad line had arrived in Cumberland eight years before the canal was finally finished. The C&O Canal operated from 1831 to 1924 and served primarily as a means to transport coal from the Allegheny Mountains to Washington D.C. The canal was closed in 1924 in part due to several severe floods that had a devastating impact on the financial condition of the canal. The canal and towpath trail extends from Georgetown, Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland, a distance of 184.5 miles (296.9 km).

Records

The records of this Canal may be found in the National Park Service Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Also records of workers on the C & O and other records concerning the C & O may be found in the following County records:


Maps

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Websites