By Bill Holdsworth
C&O Canal Association
Conococheague Aqueduct was restored to operational condition in 2019.
A launch boat exits the aqueduct during opening day celebrations. Photo by Doug Zveare.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Association is getting ready to welcome canal enthusiasts from around the world to next year’s World Canals Conference August 30-September, 2021 in Hagerstown, MD.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a cloud over the preparations. Leipzig, Germany was scheduled to host the 2020 conference in September, but the impact of the pandemic forced them to reschedule for May 2022.
We will monitor developments over the coming months. We are hopeful that conditions will improve and that canal lovers will be ready to gather again.
We will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Construction of the C&O Canal began in 1828 in Washington, D.C. The canal reached Cumberland in 1850. It operated until 1924. The federal government acquired the disused waterway in 1938. Legislation transformed it into a national park in 1971.
Conference theme will be:
Historic Canals Today:
Education, Recreation, and Tourism
Many 19th-century waterways have found a new role in the 21st Century. The conference will provide an opportunity to hear the secrets of their successes.
Mornings of the four-day event will feature presentations related to the conference theme. In the afternoon, attendees will hit the road for study tours that visit canal locations and other local history sites, such as Great Falls, Paw Paw Tunnel, and Antietam battlefield.
Hagerstown is just eight miles from the C&O Canal, making the city an ideal base for canal enthusiasts to explore the area. Conveniently located near the junction of two Interstate highways, I-81 and I-70, Hagerstown is less than a 3½-hour drive from Lynchburg.
Save the date. We would love to welcome you in 2021.
2021 World Canals Conference, Hagerstown, MD
Cushwa Basin was once a busy location along the C&O Canal in Williamsport, MD. Photo by Doug Zveare.