Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park Collection

C&O Canal
Canal boat at the Paw Paw Tunnel

The C&O Canal follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, MD. The canal operated from 1828-1924 as a transportation route, primarily hauling coal from western Maryland to the port of Georgetown in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of original structures, including locks, lockhouses, and aqueducts, serve as reminders of the canal's role as a transportation system during the Canal Era. In addition, the canal's towpath provides a nearly level, continuous trail through the spectacular scenery of the Potomac River Valley. Every year millions of visitors come to hike or bike the C&O Canal in order to enjoy the natural, cultural, and recreational opportunities available.

Collection Summary

Historic objects (instruments, tools, and equipment used in the surveying, construction, operation, and maintenance of the C&O Canal [c. 1828-1924]; historic objects and furnishings associated with canal boat families and canal lock keepers; paintings, drawings, and prints illustrating all aspects of the C&O Canal. The collection includes items from the Abner Cloud House site.

Collection Size


Facilities Exhibiting Museum Items Curator

Justin Ebersole

Last updated: April 20, 2016