Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

So I ended up staying in Rockville, Maryland on Saturday night.  It was a pretty nice hotel but by the time I got there, I was pretty beat so I didn't feel like wandering down to Washington to get some night shots.
 I slept in a little later than I wanted but it wasn't too late.  The GPS routed me on a parkway that was next to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.  I saw a sign for one of the locks, so I decided to stop.  And based on this picture, I'm glad I did.
 Construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio began in 1828 and ended in 1850 with the final stretch to Cumberland.  It followed along the Potomac River from Cumberland to Washington DC.  It was mostly used to transport coal from the Allegheny Mountains.  It required 74 locks and originally was going to go to Pittsburgh to link up with the Ohio River, but that never happened.
 I think this would be a typical lock. It was hand operated and used valves to either fill or empty the lock (depending on the direction you were going).
By the time the canal was completed, it knew that its days were numbers.  The Baltimore and Ohio railroad started operating in the area about 8 years prior.  It wasn't until 1870 that the railroads were able to charge lower rates than the canal.  However, the canal was still profitable until it flooded.  In 1889, it was bought by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
The canal would be abandoned in 1924 and was transferred to the government in 1938 in exchange for a loan.
I think they are in the process of restoring some parts of the canal and I think it would be cool to be able to travel it's length.
At any rate, it is fairly beautiful.
And if you're interested, you can stay in some of the canal houses.

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