- 1785 - Potomac Company chartered
- 1823 - Potomac Company resolved to surrender its charter to a
- 1824 - C and O Canal Company chartered
- July 4, 1828 - Ground broken for the C and O Canal
- 1831 - Canal completed up to Seneca (Mile 23 area)
- 1833 - Segment to Harpers Ferry completed (Mile 60 area)
- 1839 - Segment to near Hancock completed (Mile 134)
- 1850 - Canal completed as far as Cumberland. Decision made not
to go farther west.
- 1877 - Boatmen's strike and devastating flood
- 1889 - Major devastating flood causing Canal to go into
receivership to B abd O Railroad
- 1892 - Canal repaired and was put back into operation
- 1902 - Canal Towage Company established. It tightened canal
operations and bought up remaining indepentently-owned boats
replacing distinctive names with numbers.
- 1924 - First major flood in 35 years. The ruined Canal closed
- 1936 - Biggest recorded flood in Potomac Valley. Bridges at
Harpers Ferry and Shepherdstown washed out.
- 1938 - U.S. Government acquired the derelict Canal from the B
and O Railroad for $2 million. Historic restoration begun on lower
- 1939 - The Canal was dedicated as a public park.
- 1942 - Another major flood undid restoration work.
- 1950 - Proposal for parkway to Cumberland along Potomac to be
constructed issued by assistant Secretary of the Interior.
- January 3, 1954 - Washington Post
editorialized in favor of the proposed parkway construction.
- January 19, 1954 - Justice William O. Douglas wrote letter to
editor inviting the editor to hike the Canal. The Post wrote in a
January 21 editorial, "We Accept."
- March 20, 1954 - Hike began at Lock 72 and finished in D.C.
eight days later, with editors conceding that Canal should be
- January 23, 1962 - President Eisenhower signed a proclamation
to establish the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Monument in
Maryland (but this did nothing to protect Canal from potential road
- January 8, 1971 - President Nixon signed an act to establish
and develop the C and O Canal National Historical Park, authorizing
expansion from about 5,000 acres to over 20,000.
- June 24, 1972 - Hurricane Agnes caused great damage which took
years to repair.
- May 17, 1977 - C and O Canal was dedicated to Justice Douglas
- November, 1985 - Another very destructive flood, with repairs
taking over a year.
- January 19-20, 1996 - Devastating flood.
- General width of canal at towpath level: 50 to 60 feet
- General width at bottom: 30 to 40 feet
- Depth: minimum of 6 feet of water
- Lock size: 15 feet wide, 90 feet long
- Typical boat: 14.5 feet wide, 92 feet long (including rudder
which could be moved so boat could fit through lock.)
- Draw: 4.5 feet of water
- Maximum cargo: 135 tons
- Typical cargo: 120 tons of coal
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