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The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

The Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal, completed in 1850, is the last and permanent result of many prior efforts to improve the navigation along the Potomac and create a waterway to the West to foster transportation and western development. It extends some 1841/2 miles from Rock Creek in Georgetown to Wills Creek at Cumberland, Maryland, and contains seventy-five navigation locks, each with an average lift of eight feet.

Used primarily as a route for transporting coal and other goods from the Allegheny Mountains to city markets, its towpath is now used as a recreational trail. The canal has played a significant role in the development of the Potomac Valley, and its prism and surrounding landscape, under renovation in 2017, continues to be a prominent urban feature in Washington.