• 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.

Names Associated with the Canal

Canal boat

Many famous people were associated with the C&O Canal. Their names are easily recognized. However, most people involved with the canal were common laborers and families. Many of their names are now lost to history, but their legacy continues to live in the form of NPS interpretive living history programs and the historic structures of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.

The diversity of people and jobs on the canal was significant. The canal became a new home for people looking for work and a chance at a new way of life. Employment opportunities for different ethnic groups would have been available. They might include:

Women on the Canal


Native Americans

Construction Laborers

Whether you were man or woman, boy or girl, the canal was not a respector of persons. Everyone had to work the same jobs to allow a family to make a living and survive.

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...