The Monocacy Aqueduct, originally constructed in 1829-1833, consists of seven arches and is the second and largest of the eleven aqueducts in the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The aqueduct is located at Mile 42.19 near Dickerson, MD. It is considered one of the finest canal structures in the United States and one of two finest features of the C&O Canal. In 1972, it suffered severe damage from Hurricane Agnes. During 1975-79, it underwent extensive repair and stabilization work.
In 1995, a joint effort to stabilize and restore the aqueduct to prime condition was established. It was organized by the Superintendent of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, the C&O Canal Advisory Commission, and the C&O Canal Association.
Under Superintendent Doug Faris’ lead, the Park Service carried out preliminary examinations of the aqueduct’s structural condition and prepared an assessment of what needed to be done, in
what order, and at what costs, based on newly gathered engineering data.
The C&O Canal Advisory Commission gave priority attention to the aqueduct and established a committee under Dr. James H. Gilford’s leadership. The committee developed an overall strategy and plan for a fund-raising campaign in support of the project.
At its August 6, 1995 meeting, the association’s Board of Directors accepted the above committee’s request that the association serve as the focus organization in fundraising efforts. The association set up a Monocacy Aqueduct Fund.
The C&O Canal Association developed a partnership with the Capital Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
In June 1996, seed money totaling $10,000 for a systematic engineering study of the aqueduct was donated to the National Park Service by the C&O Canal Association ($7,500) and by the Capital Section of the American Society of civil Engineers ($2,500).
Contracts for preliminary work were awarded in 1997.
In June 1997, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ national organization awarded the National Capital Section a $3,100 grant for developing a monitoring plan for the Monocacy Aqueduct. The National Capital Section provided volunteer engineers and necessary principal equipment to install the monitoring system.
On November 24, 1997, the C&O Canal Association was awarded a matching grant of $2,700 by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to produce a video on restoring the Monocacy Aqueduct.
On June 15, 1998, the C&O Canal Association was notified that its application requesting that the Monocacy Aqueduct be designated “One of the Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation was approved.
On September 3, 1999, the C&O Canal Association was notified that its application requesting that the Monocacy Aqueduct be designated as an Official Project of “Save America’s Treasures” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation was approved.
In March 2001, the C&O Canal Association donated $6,500 from the Monocacy Aqueduct Fund and the Capital Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers donated $3,500 for a kiosk to be located at the aqueduct. It was installed by September 2002.
In the fiscal year 2002, Congress appropriated over $6,000,000 for the restoration of the Monocacy Aqueduct.
In September 2002, the C&O Canal Association transferred $152,117, the balance of the Monocacy Aqueduct Fund, to the National Park Service.
The restoration contract was awarded in 2002. The restored Monocacy Aqueduct was dedicated on May 21, 2005.
(Updated August 2019.)