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Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

The purpose of this application is to nominate the entire Chesapeake and Ohio(C&O) Canal National Historic Park for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.John Curry, a slave from North Carolina narrates his escape by following the towpath before passing into Pennsylvania.Franklin Blackford recounts in his diary the capture of five slaves along the towpath and collecting the reward.These accounts along with the numerous runaway slave ads mentioning the C&O Canal provides evidence that the canal was used not only as transportation route for fugitives escaping slavery but also as a destination point.The C&O Canal National Historical Park runs 184.5 miles from Georgetown in Washington DC to Cumberland in Western Maryland.Construction of the canal began in 1828 and progressed westward until reaching Cumberland in 1850.As the canal reached Western Maryland it becomes exceedingly close to Pennsylvania, a beacon for freedom seekers as a free state where help could easily be obtained.During the time of its construction, the canal provided a means for runaway slaves to finance their escape by posing as free and gaining employment within the labor intensive construction of the canal.This documentation is reflected in the historical record through the numerous runaway slave ads.


Visitor Information: Currently open to public.

Location: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP, 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, Mongtomery Co., MD and DC, 21740

Contact Information: 301-739-4200 (main phone)

National Park Unit: Yes

Ownership: Superintendent

Location Type: Site

Freedom Seekers: John Curry