The historic site is receiving some much-needed repairs as part of a restoration project.
As part of a multi-year reconstruction plan, the C&O Canal in Georgetown is undergoing some major changes. Its most recent shift? Water is flowing through the waterways again. The Georgetown Business Improvement District announced the return of water to the one-mile canal on Monday, citing "giant wall stabilizations" and "lock repairs" for its barren appearance.
The renovation effort is headed by nonprofit Georgetown Heritage, who, along with the Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park, is working to improve its stagnant condition amid budget cuts and much-needed foundational repairs. The project has garnered over $6 million from the National Park Service since construction took off in 2016, and their plans are moving full steam ahead with a boat replica to be installed this summer for educational purposes.
According to the group's website, the canal "is a unique and beloved piece of our neighborhood’s – and America’s – history. It is a gateway into the story of our industrial past, and a place for exercise, recreation, and reflection."
Along with the sinister steps of The Exorcist fame, the C&O Canal has endured as one of the neighborhood's top sites. Formally completed in 1850, the canal spans 184 miles between Georgetown in Washington, D.C., and Cumberland, Maryland. It was utilized for trade and transport materials such as coal, lumber, and stone until its closure in 1924. The boat replica will be based on the domestic ship called a packet boat, which carried goods along the Potomac River during its peak.
Due to the nature of upcoming repairs—for one, repairing the boat's dry dock—the water levels are likely to shift throughout the summer months.
“The rewatering of the canal in Georgetown is part of our normal summer operations. Throughout the next few weeks, water levels in the canal in Georgetown will vary intermittently to accommodate preparations of the canal for full rewatering in Summer 2021,” C&O Canal National Historical Park's chief of interpretation Christina Hanson said in a statement.
Interested in tracking the canal's progress? You can view the full project outline here.
What do you think of the C&O Canal's restoration project? Are there any changes you'd like to see? Sound off in the comments.