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Smithsonian Lecture Series – C&O Canal

  • S. Dillon Ripley Center Washington, DC (map)

By the 1820s, the silt-choked Potomac River was not navigable up to Georgetown. Construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal began in July 1828, to link Georgetown to Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). Never profitable as a mode of transportation, it proved to be an economic boost for Georgetown. In the 1820s and 1830s, Georgetown was an important shipping center as tobacco, coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the C&O to market. Speaker Patricia Barber is director of development, C&O Canal Trust.