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 C&O Canal Association

National Park Service News Releases

June 11, 2014 – CSX To Perform Work Near Lock 74

Contact: Daniel Copenhaver, (301)745-5818

CUMBERLAND, MD – CSX Corporation will be replacing the railroad bridge crossing the Potomac River near historic Lift Lock 74. The work will begin later this month and last approximately 18 months.  For the safety and convenience of park visitors to this area CSX will install a temporary parking lot adjacent to historic Lift Lock 75. While the park, towpath and River Road will remain open in this area during construction, visitors should exercise caution and expect to experience minor delays, possibly up to 15 minutes.  The park is asking the public to obey all posted signs in the work area for their safety. 

CSX will install a new vehicular bridge across Lift Lock 74, River Road.  The new bridge will serve public traffic on River Road and provide access for heavy equipment necessary to replace the railroad bridge.  CSX’s construction contractor will be working closely with the National Park Service to assure the safety of park visitors as they install the temporary lot at Lock 75 and new vehicular bridge over Lift Lock 74.

May 28, 2014 – Replica Launch Boat Program, Summer Weekends in Williamsport

Contact: Ben Helwig, District Ranger, ben_helwig@nps.gov, 301-582-0813

WILLIAMSPORT, MD – The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal NHP) welcomes visitors to the Cushwa Basin to experience history through the Replica Launch Boat Program on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer.  Park Ranger-led 1 hour interpretive programs begin at 10:30am, 12:15pm, 1:30pm and 3:00pm at the Williamsport C&O Canal NHP Visitor Center. The programs are free of charge.

Tours will continue every Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day weekend, weather permitting.  There will be no tours offered on June 7.  Visitors are encouraged to visit the Williamsport C&O Canal Visitor Center and reserve their seat for this unique interpretive program. Seats are limited to 12 visitors per program and reservations will only be taken on the day of the tour.

Park Ranger Ben Helwig states, “During the Williamsport Replica Launch Boat Program, visitors will experience tours of the Cushwa Warehouse, Lockhouse 44, and Lock 44, as well experiencing what it was like to live and work along the C&O Canal during its operation.” Topics such as C&O Canal, local history, and the Civil War will be discussed while visitors connect to the natural beauty of the park.

The C&O Canal NHP also welcomes visitors to enjoy all of the open boat ramps, drive-in camp grounds, and overnight hiker-biker campsites within the 184.5 mile long towpath. For information on park facilities, regulations, hours of operation and safety precautions please visit www.nps.gov/choh/planyourvisit

C&O Canal NHP stretches 184.5 mile from Georgetown to Cumberland, MD. The C&O Canal was constructed over 22 years and operated from 1850-1924 as a water route for hauling coal, lumber, and other goods. The C&O Canal became a National Monument in 1961, thanks in part to the efforts of concerned citizens who sought to preserve the canal environment, and in 1971 the C&O Canal became a National Historical Park. Today, the entire 184.5 mile long towpath is open to visitors.

For more information, please contact the C&O Canal Williamsport Visitor Center at 301-582-0813.


May 28, 2014 – Ferry Hill Planation in Sharpsburg, Maryland Opens for Summer Weekends

Contact: Ben Helwig, District Ranger, ben_helwig@nps.gov, 301-582-0813

SHARPSBURG, MD – The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park (C&O Canal NHP) announces the weekend opening of the Ferry Hill Plantation House (Ferry Hill Place), located in Sharpsburg, Maryland. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00am to 3:00pm, Ferry Hill Place welcomes visitors, free of charge, to catch a glimpse into Civil War and C&O Canal History. The exhibit center at Ferry Hill Place will be open every summer weekend through Sunday, August 31, 2014.

Ferry Hill Place is the former home of Henry Kyd Douglas, the youngest officer under the command of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson during the Civil War, as well as author of I Rode with Stonewall. Ferry Hill is a 19th century plantation house that sits above the C&O Canal while overlooking the scenic Potomac River and historic Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

“Ferry Hill Place offers a unique take on the C&O Canal experience, as exhibits within the Visitor Center focus on the Civil War, local farming, as well as local commerce,” Ben Helwig, C&O Canal Supervisory Park Ranger said. “All of these elements show how the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal played an important role in American History during the time of its operation.”

In 2012, the main living space of Ferry Hill Place was refurbished to reflect the original character of the home, while still maintaining its artful and handcrafted planation style. Today, Ferry Hill Place’s updated exhibits include stories from the C&O Canal, recollections of local commerce, hand-on activities for children, and the historic architecture of Ferry Hill Place. 

C&O Canal NHP stretches 184.5 mile from Georgetown to Cumberland, MD. The C&O Canal was constructed over 22 years and operated from 1850-1924 as a water route for hauling coal, lumber, and other goods. The C&O Canal became a National Monument in 1961, thanks in part to the efforts of concerned citizens who sought to preserve the canal environment, and in 1971 the C&O Canal became a National Historical Park. Today, the entire 184.5 mile long towpath is open to visitors.

For more information on Ferry Hill Place, please contact the C&O Canal Williamsport Visitor Center at 301-582-0813.


December 6, 2013 - Park Announces Improvements to the Williamsport Area

Contact: Ben Helwig, District Ranger, 301-582-0813, ben_helwig@nps.gov

WILLIAMSPORT, MDThe Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is pleased to announce infrastructure improvements to the Williamsport area of the C&O Canal this coming Monday, December 9th at 7:00 PM during the Town of Williamsport, Maryland Town Government Meeting located at Town Hall, 2 North Conococheaque St, Williamsport, MD 21795. 

Park Superintendent Kevin Brandt along with Mike Nardolilli, President of the C&O Canal Trust will be present for the announcement concerning multiple projects along the C&O Canal at Williamsport, all to improve the infrastructure and educational/interpretive experience for visitors.  Projects include raising the railroad lift bridge, repairing Lock 44, restoration of Lockhouse 44, and operation of the interpretive Launch Boat program for the 2014 season.  These projects demonstrate the park’s commitment to one of its Canal Towns, Williamsport, and represent a major achievement despite difficult budget restraints. 

Earlier in 2013 the Park received a $297,000 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant from Maryland State Highway Administration to improve the canal water intake system at Williamsport. The project will provide a major infrastructure improvement to the canal by providing a consistent water source. Completion of this project, in combination with the raising of the railroad lift bridge, will enhance the park’s interpretive launch boat program, providing visitors with a true canal experience as they travel on the watered canal from Cushwa Basin to Lockhouse 44 and through an operating lift lock.

Last month the Park received an additional $33,000 donation from the C&O Canal Trust, the Park’s official non-profit friend’s organization, in support of the innovative Canal Classrooms educational program which piloted in Williamsport this year. The program focuses on building sustainable practices by engaging school districts and the community in education and interpretive programming. It’s the first of its kind in the National Park Service and will expand to other Park locations next year. Educational programming at Williamsport continues to enrich the curriculum of Washington County students, serving every 4th grade student each year.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park is committed to improving the visitor experience through educational and interpretive programming. Collaboration with the Town of Williamsport and other communities adjacent to the Park, as well as partnerships with the C&O Canal Association, Washington County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, State Highway Administration, and the C&O Canal Trust make improvements and enhancements to education and interpretive programming possible.

For more information please contact the C&O Canal Williamsport Visitor Center at 301-582-0813.
     C & O Canal Association     P.O Box 366      Glen Echo, MD 20812-0366     Phone: 301-983-0825      Email: inquiries@candocanal.org