Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

Georgetown, DC to Cumberland, MD.

A canal paralleling the Potomac River from Georgetown, DC to Cumberland, MD.


C&O Canal - Georgetown

Photo taken by Michael Miller July 17, 2004

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)




The canal starts at Georgetown,DC and runs through Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, & Allegany counties in Maryland.

This 184 mile canal was built between 1828 & 1850 and was used until 1924. It has an elevation change of 605 feet, 75 locks, 7 diversion dams to supply water, and the Paw Paw tunnel at 3,117 feet long. Originally estimated to cost between 4.5 & 8 Million dollars, it ended up costing 11 million. The canal was sold to the federal government in 1938 and in 1971 it became a National Historic Park. The towpath is now a hiking & biking trail.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966
Reference number
NR name
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
Areas of significance
Economics; Conservation; Military; Engineering; Transportation; Exploration/Settlement
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1825-1849
Significant years
1828; 1924
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 54
Contributing structures: 368
Contributing sites: 28
Contributing objects: 5
Non-contributing structures: 6

Update Log 

  • January 1, 2021: New photo from Michael Miller
  • July 7, 2016: Added by Jim Allen

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