Friday, February 8, 2008

C & O Canal National Historical Park

I went to my favorite seafood restaurant at Canal Place in Cumberland, Maryland for my favorite baked crabs and this was what I found.

an empty crab cage with some crab shells. There was no live crabs. The season starts again in April 2008.

After my lunch, I visited some sovenir stores, bought some coin albums, visited other galleries and walked around the C & O Canal National Historical Park.

These are the site maps and historical information:

Apparently, the C & O Canal was once a very important form of transportation which was in service from 1836 through 1924. At that time, some falls on the Potomac River made water transportation on the river impossible so a canal with 74 locks was constructed parallel to the Potomac River. Washington D.C. and Alexandria were major ports for distribution of tobacco, grains, whiskey, furs, timber and other items. Cumberland, Maryland was the main producer of these items (information source). Later, it stopped operation because the competition from B & O Railroad put it out of business. I think using animals would need a man to walk along with it to make sure that everything works right. I just wonder how many man would be required to walk 184.5 miles with the work animals.

Here are the pictures of a boat used at that time. Notice that it had no engine and thus had no power to move on the canal. I told my husband it's so ancient.

That is why a towpath was built along the 184.5 mile canal. See picture of the towpath. Notice that animals were used to pull the boat along the canal. I was told that horses were used. But this picture shows buffaloes.

Picture Source

Today the flat towpath is ideally turned into a bicycle trail which not only preserves its history, but also enables cyclists to enjoy the pleasant path and ride.

Following is the picture of the end of the canal in Cumberland. The red brick tiles mark the end of the canal.


Juha Ylitalo said...

I never realised that it would be that long even though I saw it in year 2003, when I was in conference in Washington D.C.
If you want to check, how it looked in Georgetown, Washington D.C., check my photographs from:

jesie said...

I think it would be interesting to add the photos from your blog to this post so that I have pictures of the other end of the canal. I'm not sure why the link doesn't open up though.

Stefan said...

I've been back forth through New Zealand, Auckland primarily, but have yet to really venture out into the landscape. Fortunately, it's not too far off anymore. I'll be doing this soon, I hope.

Fantastic writeup!

jesie said...

Thank you for your compliments. I hope you will get to see more of the landscape whenever you have a chance.

Anonymous said...

FYI The picture that you show of the animals towing the boat does show horses not buffalo. Just to let you know. Great story.