Antique Radios Added to Two Canal Quarters Lockhouses

By October 14, 2014News

One of the comments we get most often about our Canal Quarters lockhouses is the opportunity to “get away from technology.” So why would we go and add technology to lockhouses 6 and 10?

1938 Silvertone radio in Lockhouse 10

1938 Silvertone radio in Lockhouse 10

Because that technology is in the form of antique radios!

Guests at Lockhouse 10 can now enjoy a 1938 Silvertone radio, while guests of Lockhouse 6 will be treated to tunes from a 1953 Emerson radio. The radios were chosen for their dates in order to fit in with the time periods associated with each lockhouse. Lockhouse 10 portrays the 1930s New Deal program and the Civilian Conservation Corps, and Lockhouse 6 interprets the 1950s, when Justice William O. Douglas helped save the Canal from being paved into a highway.

1953 Emerson radio in Lockhouse 6

1953 Emerson radio in Lockhouse 6

Both radios are retrofitted to play a modern day iPod, so guests can listen to today’s tunes through the radios if they wish. But the C&O Canal Trust also plans to offer MP3 files of period radio shows on our website, as well. This way, guests can download the MP3, play it on the antique radio, and listen to the old sounds of Woody Guthrie, Huddie Ledbetter, and Count Basie – or Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, or Johnny Cash, depending on your decade. These offering should be available on the Trust’s website by January 2015.

The addition of the radios to the Canal Quarters lockhouses was made possible through a $2,000 gift from the Captain John No. 517 chapter of The Questers organization. This organization is dedicated to conserving and preserving historical objects and landmarks for future generations to enjoy.

Bettye Wolfe, the president of the Maryland Questers, stated, “Captain John #517 chapter is excited to participate in bringing this past to life for the present and future generations. When first reading of the Trust and the plan for restoring the Lockhouses, I knew it was a program that would be exciting for a Quester chapter.”

“The enthusiasm of all members was heightened when the chapter had their September meeting in Lockhouse 10 and received briefings from [the Trust’s Director of Programs and Partnerships] Becky Curtis.  The Questers is dedicated to preservation and restoration of historic sites.  With the restoration of the Lockhouses being in an area that is near a number of Maryland chapters where visiting by members would be convenient, the Trust project was a very desirable project for Questers to support.”

Curtis worked with the Questers on their donation. She stated, “These radios bring a unique element to the Canal Quarters experience. The only sound you hear at most lockhouses is the noises of nature and the voices of your companions. Now, with the addition of the radios, you will also hear the sounds of the past in the background. I’m sure this will bring back memories for our older guests, and allow our younger guests to experience the media of radio as it used to be. The added ambiance will further the feeling of being transported back in time.”

Wolfe agreed, saying “The new radios will add tremendous dimension to the historic significance of the Canal Quarters. I can imagine reliving my youth, sitting in front of the radio in Lockhouse #10, listening to one of President Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats. And the music of that era will add immeasurably to the ambiance of a social gathering.”

The Canal Quarters program features six historic lockhouses that have been restored and decorated in a time period ranging from the 1830s to the 1950s. All are available for overnight stays. To book your stay, please visit www.CanalTrust.org/Quarters.