Located just over six miles apart in Western Maryland, the communities of Spring Gap and Oldtown today have a combined population of just under 150 people. Native American settlements in the area date back thousands of years. Frontiersman Thomas Cresap established a fort near the Potomac River in the early 1740s and his son Michael was the first white male born in Allegany County. The 1764 Michael Cresap House still stands today.
The 1850s ushered in the arrival of the C&O Canal and the area was bustling with the activity from four lockhouses and a store. The Patterson Spring Bridge was erected over the Canal and Towpath and connected Spring Gap with what is now West Virginia.
This area is rich with history (George Washington crossed the Potomac here in 1748) and is known for its great outdoor recreation. It has one of the best fishing areas on the Potomac River and is popular with canoeists, hikers, and bikers and provides a wonderful place to relax in a peaceful setting.
Spring Gap is a Canal Discovery! Read a Park Ranger’s story and view other multimedia on our Canal Discovery page.
Photo by: Brett Robinson