CANALP_130322_161
Existing comment:
A Walk on the Canal:
You are standing on the site of the Washington City Canal.
From 1815 until about 1880, the three blocks of Canal Park were part of an innovative, man-made waterway linking the Potomac River to the Eastern Branch of the Anacostia River.
In the beginning, the nation's capital had only a few dusty dirt roads. Waterways were much more efficient for moving building materials and people, so George Washington and Pierre C. L'Enfant planned to transform existing creeks and streams into a canal. Engineer and architect Benjamin Latrobe designed the canal to begin where Tiber Creek emptied into the Potomac near the White House. With stone shorting up its sides, the canal ran the length of today's Constitution Avenue, then turned southeast at the foot of the Capitol. Beyond the Capital is divided into two branches to reach the Anacostia River. The northern branch came here, then continued on to the Anacostia near the Navy Yard.
Another canal, the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O), began in Georgetown and followed the Potomac westward. In 1833 engineers linked the C&O Canal to the Washington City Canal. Near what is now 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, they built a stone house beside a lock connecting the two. This lock house is the only visible reminder of the Washington Canal.
The canal worked well until the late 1840s. Then modern railroads and paved streets completed for its traffic. As interest dwindled, so did maintenance. Silt and trash began to choke the waterway. In the 1870s most of the canal was filled, but the portion that is now Washington Canal Park remained until the 1880s.
Modify description