Save Swains Lockhouse: Rehabilitation of Lockhouse 21

Swains Lockhouse, the popular C&O Canal access spot in Potomac, has fallen into disrepair and has suffered from several run-ins with vandals. The C&O Canal Trust and the C&O Canal National Historical Park recognized that if we did not act, this iconic property would be lost forever!

Therefore, we have decided to rehabilitate the lockhouse, so it can be used as one of our Canal Quarters lockhouses, where guests can stay overnight and experience life along the canal. It will also be used as a multi-use space for interpretive programs like Canal Classrooms.

We encourage you to follow along on our blog as we detail our work to bring this historic lockhouse back to life, and to visit our photo album to see pictures of Swains then and now.

Photo Album

Spend a Night in a Historic Lockhouse


When Swains Lockhouse is finished, it will join the Canal Quarters program, which features historic lockhouses available for overnight stays. Learn more and book your stay here.

Book Now

Make a Gift to Save Swains Lockhouse

Funding for the Rehabilitation of Swains Lockhouse has been raised from private donors by the C&O Canal Trust in the amount of $75,000. Money is also being provided by the C&O Canal National Historical Park, Friends of Historic Great Falls Tavern, and the C&O Canal Association. We are now raising an additional $25,000 for furnishings for Swains Lockhouse.

We welcome your financial support. Click the “Give Now” button and select “Swains Lockhouse” on the Gift Designation dropdown menu.

Give Now

Rehabilitation Blog

Protecting the Past

What was it like to grow up on the C&O Canal? Bert Swain, who lived at Lock 21 from 1957-1980, generously shared his family memories and photos for this post. (more…)

Protecting the Past in the Face of Floods

Flood History

With its location along the Potomac River, it’s not a matter of if the C&O Canal and its lockhouses will be flooded but when. The Canal has experienced flooding ranging from inconvenient to destructive throughout its history. In early June of this year, the Potomac reached its highest level in 8 years as rehabilitation work continued at Swains Lockhouse. (more…)

Progress Continues on the Swains Rehab
The rehab work continues on the inside and outside of Swains Lockhouse. Take a look at the latest photos.


Funding for this project was provided in part by Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust.