• Historic Shot of Canal Boat on the Canal

    Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

    National Historical Park DC,MD,WV

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  • NEW Overnight parking system

    Before parking a vehicle overnight in any Canal Parking area, visitors must register their vehicle through the new online registration system. Print your reciept and place on your dashboard. If unable to print, please visit the nearest visitor center. More »

  • Water Pump Handles Temporarily Removed

    Water pump handles at Bald Eagle Island, Jordan Junction and Big Woods Hiker Biker Campsites have been removed due to bad water samples. Handles will be reinstalled when good water samples are received.

  • Boat Tours at Great Falls

    Due to low water levels in the Great Falls area, call the Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center (301-767-3714) in advance of your trip to confirm the mule-drawn boat tour schedule.

  • Parking Lot Closure

    CSX is now beginning a phase of their bridge project that requires the closure of the Lock 74 parking lot for approximatly 18 months. Access to visitor parking near Lock 75 is now re-opened with a gravel parking lot at the site.

Classroom Links

Primary Source Material

Here are three excellent websites with on-line primary source materials about the canal:

1) C&O Canal Association collection includes newspaper reports, payroll records, compilations of canal boat mortgages, family histories, and canal boat registers and logs.

2) The Library of Congress holds an amazing array of primary source materials about the canal including photographs, maps, drawings, and the Edison video "Down the Old Potomac." Just enter "Chesapeake & Ohio Canal" to search the catalog.

3) Western Maryland's Historical Library site hosts historic photographs, maps, and Civil War era documents related to the canal in Allegany and Washington Counties. One document that may be of interest is the Department of Labor report on the working conditions of Canal Boat children, written in 1921.


The National Park Service created educational videos for your classroom. These and more videos by our park partners are available on our You Tube channel.

Virtual Tour - Canal Discoveries
Read and listen to nearly fifty stories about the Canal at the C&O Canal Trust website. Canal Discoveries are organized by towpath mile and include audio, short stories, and photographs about the park's natural and historic places. What canal site is near your school?

Teaching with Historic Places
The National Park Service provides dozens of standards-based lesson plans about the nation's historic places, including one about theconstruction of the C&O Canal. You can search by location, theme, skill, time period, and even primary source material type. Visit theTeaching with Historic Places website to see why "real historic places generate excitement and curiosity."

Other North American Canals
The C&O Canal is just one of many canals built in the United States. Learn more about our nation's commerce and transportation history by visiting the National Canal Museum website or the North American Canals website.

Did You Know?

Photo Potowmack Company canal lock at Great Falls Virginia.

George Washington's dream of connecting the eastern states with the western frontier led to the creation of the Patowmack Company. Canals were built around unnavigable parts of the Potomac River for improved commerce. The C&O Canal inherited the right of way after the Patowmack Company's demise. More...