Protecting the Canal since 1954

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Association is an independent, all-volunteer citizens organization established in 1954 to help conserve the natural and historical environment of the C&O Canal and the Potomac River Basin. The association works with the National Park Service in its efforts to preserve and promote the 184-mile towpath.
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Interesting Infrastructure: Four Unique Mid-Atlantic Canals

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Erie Canal Museum has posted a video of their December 22 program: Interesting Infrastructure: Four Unique Mid-Atlantic Canals. You can find it at: With the completion of the Erie…
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🎶Holiday roads🎶 to Williamsport.The C&O Canal NHP invites the Williamsport community to Deck the Halls at our park headquarters!

Photos with Ranger Claus, Office Tours, Light Refreshments

Saturday, December 2
12pm - 4pm

C&O Canal NHP Headquarters
142 W. Potomac St.
Williamsport, MD
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🎶Holiday roads🎶 to Williamsport.

The story behind the story of the Four Locks painter.We recently purchased this portrait at the Ankeney auction. With endless hours of research, we have discovered he is Thomas Hassett of Four Locks. His wife was the "Four Locks artist" who painted the picture of the Flynn house we purchased. She did many paintings of the Four Locks area. Did she paint the portrait of her husband? More research to do. ... See MoreSee Less

The story behind the story of the Four Locks painter.

Things You Can See on the C&O Canal

Culvert #136, Little Conococheage Creek, MM 105.00

With a Brief (very) Introduction to Canal Water Management
What is a culvert you ask? What is their purpose and just why are
they so important? The simple answer is culverts are an important
part of an intricate water management system. The main idea be-
hind a canal is that it is a flatwater transportation route that allows
cargo barges (and some passenger boats) to be safely towed by draftanimals. This required lots of water which was supplied by the Potomac River. Since the Potomac River, especially in the early 19thcentury was (and still is) a dangerous river prone to rapid flooding,water management was important. This was accomplished by stop locks, lift locks, waste weirs, formal and informal overflows, aqueducts, and the underrated, often overlooked, culverts.

If you have spent any time on the C&O Canal you are probably fa-
miliar with aqueducts, grand structures that allow the canal to
cross rivers and large creeks. The smaller siblings of aqueducts,
culverts, do the same thing on a smaller scale. Small streams can
flash flood and cause erosion damage to canal structures swiftly
and without warning. Culverts were sized for the streams they
served and carried the streams under the canal and towpath to the
river. One part of a complicated, well-engineered system, that mostly still works quite well.

Culvert #136
Just downstream from Feeder Dam #5 is culvert #136 that allows
the Little Conococheage Creek to join the Potomac on its journey tothe Atlantic. #136 is a rather large culvert with a 24-foot span and large angled wing walls on both sides. It was built in 1833-34 out of locally quarried limestone, of which there is an abundance of in this area. If the water is high enough you can paddle a kayak almost through the culvert to the last beautiful little waterfall on the creek.

This culvert is a testament to the skill of the folks that built it. If
you look carefully (actually it’s quite obvious) you can see where
flooding has washed away areas of the riverbank to either side of
the culvert. The culvert itself is not damaged and still performs its
duties with just some minor repairs done to the wing walls.
Should you choose to visit this area use caution on the berm side.
The trail down to the creek is very steep and slippery even when
dry. Be sure to walk down the path to the riverbank, views of the
Potomac and the West Virginia shore are spectacular.

Note; I will try to cover all of the canal structures listed above in fu-
ture posts, be patient though, I often get distracted by animals, trees, canal gnomes…

T. Carbaugh,
2023 Towpath Guide to the C&O Canal, Revised Edition, Thomas F. Hahn,
2015 Historic Resource Study: Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, Harlan Unrau, 2007
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Thanks for the explanation! And highlighting a nice section to visit.

Beautiful 📸

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