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Transportation in Washington County

Union Bridge

From Frederick North

From Thurmont West

Reminiscences Western Maryland RR

Reminiscences Cumberland Valley RR

National Road in Washington County

C & O Canal in Washington County

B & O Railroad in Washington County

Franklin Railroad Company in Washington County

Western Maryland Railroad in Washington County

Norfolk & Western Railroad in Washington County

Trolleys in Washington County


C&O Canal

[Photos of the Canal can be found at C & O Canal Index ]

The historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, winding seventy-seven miles through Washington County, has played a major role in the transportation history of the county. The groundbreaking ceremony was held July 4, 1828. The first spadeful of dirt was turned over by John Quincy Adams, President of the United States.

The Canal also played a significant part in the social and economic development of the valley area from the time the building began and after its completion a quarter of a century later.

There was tragedy, death, and destruction associated with construction. An epidemic of cholera killed hundreds of workers. Rioting among the Irish and German workers took its toll. Flood waters were a recurring disaster in its history.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal cost $11,290,000 to construct.

During the Civil War, the Canal was an important but little publicized factor in the Union effort. Troops and supplies were transported via Canal to aid the Army. The Confederates tried to destroy the supply line in December, 1861.

From its beginning, one of the Canal's major problems was with its competitor, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which had its groundbreaking ceremony on July 4, 1828, the same date as the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

Though a marvel of engineering with its locks, aqueducts and culverts, the flood of May 1924 brought an end to the history of the Canal as a waterway for the transport of supplies. The Board of Trustees abandoned its operations after the flood.

Reprinted from:

"It Happened in Washington County" by Reuben L. Musey; published by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, 1976; pp 89-97

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