Project Leader: Annie Stencil Project Dates: April 12 - October 1, 2010 Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The C&O Canal National Historic Park consists of roughly 184 miles of "towpath" and canal that runs alongside the Potomac River in the state of Maryland. The idea and construction of the canal began in 1828 with the hopes to expand commerce from the Potomac Valley to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Due to flooding and lack of money, construction of the canal was not completed until 1850 and only reached to Cumberland, Maryland. From 1836 until about 1924, the canal was used mainly to transport coal from the Alleghany mountains to Washington, D.C. The "towpath" is a trail directly adjacent (on the Maryland side) to the canal, where the canal boats were pulled by mules.
A term often heard around the area is "canal people". During the 19th century, families would work and live on canal boats, steering and maintaining the boat, as well as leading the mules along the towpath. It is a fascinating history that is well worth reading about. Following this link will take you to the C&O Canal NHP home page. http://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm
Today, the towpath runs from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland and can be used by the public for hiking and biking along the canal.
Our team will be based out of Oldtown, Maryland, nestled among the Alleghany Mountains on the borders of Maryland and West Virginia. We will be living in a historic home from circa 1865 on park service property, giving the park a sense of presence and keeping the house alive.
During the days we will be working along the canal and towpath to remove harmful vegetation from historic structures, such as locks, lock houses, aqueducts, damns and tunnels, to save their integrity and keep them from deteriorating. It is a wonderful chance for us to conserve history while learning about it at the same time.
If you are interested in learning more about canal structures and how it was operated, take a look at these links.