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Canal facts

August 23, 2000

Canal facts



HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The canal operated from 1850 to 1924. More than 900,000 tons of cargo were transported in 1875, the peak year of operation. During its heydey, more than 550 boats and 2,000 mules worked the canal.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Most boats were 93 feet long and 14 1/2 feet wide. They could carry about 120 tons of cargo.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Most captains had two teams of two or three mules. They worked in six-hour "tricks." One team rested in on-board stables while another worked.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> It took about 10 minutes to "lock through."

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Boat crews usually were comprised of family members and lived on the boat.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Competition from the B&O Railroad and flood damage caused the canal to stop operations in 1924.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The government acquired the canal in 1938.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas took up the cause of keeping the C&O from becoming a parkway. In 1954 he led a walk that saved the canal.

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HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed the C&O Canal a national monument.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park was created in 1971.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Williamsport Visitor Center, 205 W. Potomac St., is open from 9 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. For information, call 301-582-0813.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The 150th anniversary celebration will continue with Hancock Canal Apple Days, Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17, a transportation symposium Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, and the opening of the new C&O Canal Visitor Center in Cumberland Saturday, Oct. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15.

For information, call 301-739-4200, or visit the Web site at www.nps.gov/choh.

- National Park Service

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