• 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.

Swains Lock Concession Closes

Swains Lock Concession Closes on C&O Canal

By Kathy Sholl, Public Affairs Assistant, 301-745-5804


April 27, 2006

The family-owned seasonal refreshment stand and boat rental at Swain’s Lock, located on the C&O Canal National Historical Park, will no longer be open for business. After almost a century, the Swain family has ceased operations. At this time, there will be no concessions available at Swain’s Lock. Family member Bert Swain said, “The Swain family has lived at Lockhouse 21 since the early 1900s, and it was an emotional decision to give up the concession. However, it had run its course and we’re looking to the future and working with the National Park Service and other interest groups in finding new ways of utilizing the lockhouse. The family is very eager to stay involved in maintaining connections with the National Park Service and the canal.”

C&O Canal Superintendent Kevin Brandt said, “It is sad to see a season begin on the C&O Canal without the Swains. The family has long been associated with the canal, and they will be sorely missed.”

Swain family members began working on the original construction of the canal and also worked as boatmen and lock tenders, operating Swain’s Lock at mile 16.6. The Swains lived at the lockhouse during the floods of 1889; 1936, when bridges were destroyed at Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown; as well as in 1942 and 1972. Jesse Swain was the lock tender when the canal closed down in 1924.

Did You Know?

Monocacy Aqueduct along C&O Canal.

Aqueducts are water filled bridges. Aqueducts carried the canal and boat traffic over major waterways, like rivers. Of the 11 aqueducts built along the canal, the Monocacy Aqueduct is the longest at 516 feet, its seven arches constructed mainly of stone quarried from nearby Sugarloaf Mountain. More...