Chesapeake & Ohio Canal

  • 1828 – Construction of the C&O Canal commences with great fanfare on July 4, 1828, when President John Quincy Adams turns the first spadeful of dirt near Little Falls outside of Washington, DC.
  • 1833 – The canal is completed to the Maryland shoreline opposite Harpers Ferry.
  • 1850 – The canal opens to Cumberland, Maryland, eight years after the B&O Railroad reached the same destination.
  • 1889 – The canal falls into receivership following the Flood of 1889. The B&O Railroad becomes the canal company’s principal bondholder.
  • 1924 – The canal closes for good following the devastating Flood of 1924.
  • 1954 – Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas leads a hike along entire length of the canal, helping defeat a plan to build a parkway along the abandoned towpath.
  • 1971 – Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park is established by an Act of Congress.