Written by Karen Gray- C&O Canal National Historical Park Historian
Charles Bezaleel Fisk (June 14, 1806–Jan. 11, 1866) is the only C&O Canal engineer who served throughout the construction period, being hired as a mere assistant engineer in 1828, rising to the position of chief engineer in April 1837, and leaving the canal in 1852. Fisk’s name is on the builders stone in the middle of the berm parapet of the Monocacy Aqueduct, the keystone of the upstream portal of the Paw Paw Tunnel, and the C&O completion obelisk beside the Wisconsin Avenue bridge over the canal in Georgetown on the NW side.
Are you or your kids dreading another cold weekend indoors? Are you looking for an inexpensive winter getaway after the holidays? The C&O Canal Trust’s historic lockhouses make the perfect staycation this winter for people of all ages! Lockhouses 6, 10, and 21 are fully equipped with central heat, indoor plumbing, and electricity.
The last Saturday in September is Bike Your Park Day, an initiative created by the Adventure Cycling Association to promote biking in national parks, state parks, and other public lands. Lowell Markey, longtime volunteer with the C&O Canal National Historical Park, led an interpretive bike ride on September 28 to celebrate this year’s Bike Your Park Day. Visitors got to experience the new towpath surface near Shepherdstown and discover the history of this part of the park.
The Brunswick Heritage Museum, previously the Brunswick Railroad Museum, tells the story of Brunswick, Maryland, the B&O Railroad, and the C&O Canal. Whether you are a canal buff, model train enthusiast, baseball fan, or just want to learn more about the area, the Brunswick Heritage Museum has something for you.
April is Archeology Month in Maryland! To celebrate, we wanted to bring you a look at the archeological work that takes place along the canal. The C&O Canal National Historical Park is home to nearly 300 identified archeological sites that span back approximately 9,000 years. Many more exist that have not been documented.
The C&O Canal is wonderful for many reasons, but one of them is its vast history. With the White House only a 10-minute walk from the Park, various Presidents have enjoyed the Canal and the Potomac River over the years for both its recreational opportunities and tranquility.
Without further ado, let’s take a stroll through history on the Canal with our former Presidents. Read More
In the previous blog post, brief mention was made of educational advisor C. Rushton Long, the lone African American administrator within the canal camps. This one man, more than any other, was the most important man at both Camp NP-1 and Camp NP-2. Long quite likely served as the first true coach, educator, and leader these enrollees had ever known. Read More
William Allen lived and worked at Camp NP-2 in Cabin John, and was well known to his fellow enrollees as the “camp jitterbug No. 1” for his dancing all about the camp. In June 1938, the camp welcomed a new batch of enrollees from Baltimore. Not long after that, Allen stopped dancing – those “Baltimore boys” were experienced visitors to jazz clubs, and Allen was essentially shamed into early dancing retirement by his friends. Read More
The C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) traces its existence as a recreational site to hundreds of young black men. These men, all of whom were out-of-work and between 18 and 25 years old, lived and worked at two camps (Camp NP-1 and Camp NP-2) operated by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), located along the canal near present-day Carderock Recreation Area from 1938-1942. Read More
May is National Historic Preservation Month! Historic preservation is very important to us here at the C&O Canal Trust, and much of our work involves partnering with the National Park Service staff to preserve the historic structures in the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP). Read on to learn more! Read More
The C&O Canal National Historical Park boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the area. Not only is our Park magnificent to look at, but it is home to many natural and man-made wonders. The architects and builders who built the canal had to overcome rocky land, mountains, and changes in elevation, and through these difficulties, many architectural wonders were born. Below, we take a closer look at 10 of them in honor of the C&O Canal Trust’s 10th anniversary. Read More
The archives of the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) hold a merchant’s ledger (1856-1858) from Williamsport, MD that provides details about everyday life along the canal and insights into park history. The ledger’s more than 260 lined pages provide insight into the foodways, economics, and material culture of people along the canal whose stories have often become invisible to the historical record.
Imagine that a place you love, a place of refuge and retreat, is threatened with destruction in order to make way for a shopping center or an office building or a highway. What would you do?
That was exactly the situation Justice William O. Douglas faced early in 1954 when the neglected remnants of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal were threatened by the construction of a scenic highway. The proposed project would be much like Skyline Drive built right next to, if not on top of, the old canal.