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Robert Mertz Recognized for Service to C&O Canal

Longtime Park and Trust volunteer and former Trust Board Member Robert Mertz won the George and Helen Hartzog Award for Outstanding individual Volunteer Service for the National Capital Region for the work he did in 2017.

Photo Courtesy Stephen Voss

Mertz, a historic furnishings aficionado, has furnished all six of the nationally-acclaimed Canal Quarters lockhouses (and is working on number seven) and other Park buildings, using his keen sense for design and eye for historic accuracy. In 2017, his work helped the Trust secure a large furniture donation from the family of George Hartzog, past National Park Service director, for use in the Great Falls Tavern Canal Classrooms space, Swains Lockhouse, and Lockhouse 44, among others.

Mertz’s work has transformed spaces around the C&O Canal National Historical Park, making them come alive for visitors with furnishings that are accurate for the time period, socio-economic status, and story he is interpreting, while also creating usable spaces that can function as overnight quarters for visitors or a classroom for students. “There are never any velvet ropes or plexiglass in a Robert Mertz designed room!” says Director of Programs and Partnerships Becky Curtis.