Just picked up this press release, which I’m passing along in its entirety, because it’s such a great idea:
C&O Canal Trust to Hold Open Houses to Launch New Canal Quarters Program
“Stay the Night, Remember Forever!”
Hagerstown, MD – The C&O Canal Trust, in partnership with the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, has scheduled open houses at three lockhouses that will be available to the public for the first time ever for overnight stays as part of the innovative new Canal Quarters Interpretive Program.
- Lockhouse 49—Saturday, October 31, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Lockhouse 22—Sunday, November 1, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Lockhouse 6—Sunday, November 8, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The open houses are free and open to everyone. Seasonal refreshments will be provided. Visitors will be able to see the inside of the restored lockhouses, learn local lore from park rangers, and find out more about this unique interpretive program.
The Canal Quarters lockhouses have been painstakingly rehabilitated and furnished to evoke different eras in the canal’s history. The furnishings in Lockhouse 49 at Four Locks near Clear Spring in Washington County, Maryland, reflect the period of the early 20th century, toward the end of the canal’s operations. Lockhouse 22 at Pennyfield Lock near Potomac, Maryland, will show what life was like during the establishment and construction of the canal in the 1830s. Lockhouse 6, near the Brookmont community off of Clara Barton Parkway, is furnished as it may have been in the 1950s to tell the story of the campaign to preserve the canal led by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.
Immediately following the open houses, the public will be able to make online reservations on the Trust’s website, www.canaltrust.org, to schedule their own stay.
According to C&O Canal Trust President Matthew Logan, ―Nothing quite like this has ever been offered to the public in a national park. We are excited to provide a new way for people of all ages to experience this world class resource. Kevin Brandt, Superintendent of the C&O Canal NHP, says, ―Our lockhouses are over 170 years old and we know that the best way to save these invaluable buildings is to use them in an appropriate manner. This program allows us to accomplish two key goals: protecting our historic structures while offering an extraordinary interpretive experience.‖
There are 26 lockhouses, the residences of the men and their families who operated the lock gates, in the C&O Canal NHP. All are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. All told, the C&O Canal has more than 1,300 historic structures, more than any other park in the country.
Founded in 2007, the C&O Canal Trust is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect, restore, and promote the C&O Canal National Historical Park. As the official ―friends‖ organization for the park, the Trust seeks to ensure that the C&O Canal’s natural, historical, and recreational potential is fully realized.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park preserves and interprets the historical, natural, and recreational resources of the C&O Canal. Over 3,000,000 visitors a year enjoy the opportunities for recreation and understanding that the park has to offer. For more information, visit the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/choh.
I am absolutely doing this. For those of you who don’t know what it is, the C&O Canal Towpath is what’s left of a 185 mile canal that was originally constructed with the idea of connecting the interior midwest to the Potomac River. It’s super flat, and runs through some of the best scenery this part of the country has to offer. I’ve done day-long rides from Harper’s Ferry, but have never ridden the full length of it. I definitely will now.