Sunday, June 10, 2012

Photo Homage to the C&O Canal

In 1753, Lt. Col. George Washington was sent to see if he could talk the French out of a fort they had constructed in what is now western Pennsylvania near Lake Erie.  He was rebuffed.  He returned to the area in 1754 to try to dislodge the French from their new Fort Dusquesne at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, where the two form the Ohio River at what is now Pittsburgh.  On the way there, he encountered the Ohiopyle rapids on the Youghiogheny River.  He could not go further by boat.

Washington remembered this years later when he envisioned a canal from Ohio to the Potomac to allow transport by water to and from the new American West.  He founded the Potowmack Company in 1785 to improve navigation along the river.  In 1824, the company passed its rights to the Chesapeake and Ohio Company, which started building the Canal up from Washington in 1828.  It reached Cumberland, Maryland in 1850 but was by then already facing competition from the railroads.  Plans to push on to Pittsburgh were abandoned but the C&O functioned as it was until 1924, 170 years after Washington first saw the possible water route west.

President Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps began rehabilitating the Canal during the Great Depression and today it's a National Park.  We in the DC area live with this treasure.  Many people visit some part of the 185 miles of the trail.  I've biked it or parts several times over the years, the latest in May as the second part of a trip down the original canal path from Pittsburgh.  It's a great park and really nice to hike and bike.  Here follows a homage of pictures I've taken through the seasons.

Leaving from Cumberland, Maryland

Exiting the Paw Paw Tunnel


At Hancock, Maryland

Along the Canal and through the woods

Some locks still work

Around Mile 40

Locks 2 and 3 in Georgetown

The Ignoble End

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