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- 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.