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 the construction of the C&O Canal. You can search by location, theme, skill, time period, and even primary source material type. Visit the Teaching 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.

Last updated: September 9, 2016

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