Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

Cody, the Wonder Dog and I visited the Williamsport Visitor Center of the C & O Canal to view how goods were moved in the 1850 to 1924 period. The National Park system has a number of visitor centers located along the 184 mile canal path and Williamsport gives a great view of a turing basis, aqueduct, and a fully "watered" section of the canal. Interestingly, the canal was first planned by General George Washington!

The Visitor Center is in this very old brick factory that once made bricks for shipment to Washington, DC, which is the eastern terminus of the canal.

Cody was particularly interested in the aqueducts that were used (a total of 11), which are bridges for the canal to travel over a river. It must have been very interesting to sail over a river in the canal boat! This aqueduct is still mostly intact, although one wall was destroyed when a canal boat hit it in 1922 -- and the boat (100' long) and all the water in the canal spilled below into the river below. Must have been quite an exciting ride for the captain!

Here Cody sits on the tow path which overlooks the canal. The canal was about 4' deep and you can get a good idea of the size by looking at what appears to be a road next to Cody. Actually, this "Road" was the bottom of the canal. Mules were used to pull the boats - -each boat typically had 4 mules on board and two would pull while the other pair rested.

Here is a better view of the base of the aqueduct and bottom of the canal. Where Cody is sitting would be about 4' under water when the canal was operating.

Once boats got to Williamsport, they could turn around at the Cushwa turning basin -- there was no other place to turn the 100' long canal boats since they virtually filled the canal.

This picture of a picture shows the canal in operation new Cushwa where coal was loaded in addition to the bricks mentioned earlier. This an amazing view into the past of the country and gives a great entry into the early transportation of the nation.

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