Clara who and Soldiers

Trip Start Jul 08, 2011
Trip End May 26, 2012

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Where I stayed
400 15th Street S, Arlington
What I did
Traveled along the C and O Canal

Flag of United States  , Maryland
Saturday, September 17, 2011

Today we were in search of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal which runs along the Potomac River from the mouth of Rock Creek at Georgetown in Washington, to Cumberland, Maryland. We started out from Arlington and drove across the Key bridge and then turned north. There were very few signs telling us where we needed to go and after about 20 min. we came upon the Clara Barton home. She was the women that started the American Red Cross. Her home is near a place called the Glen Echo Park. This park was an amusement park in the early 20th century and originally there was some type of amphitheater that sat upon the Minnehaha Creek. At the park there was a carousel and a number of other rides that do not exist today. Many children were riding the carousel or awaiting riding the carousel.

There was one building that appeared to have bumper cars in a past time. In front of the park there was an original streetcar that provided transportation for the customers coming to the park. The buildings appeared to be in Art Deco style and were relatively well preserved. I think it was an interesting style of building and probably made the park very popular in the early 20th century. There was a nice wooded area with a flowing creek which was the Minnehaha Creek, probably an Indian name. After investigating Glen Echo Park we returned to the road going Northwest we did not have a map to help us.

About eight more miles later we came up on a road called MacArthur Drive. This road took us to a Visitors Center at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. After parking the car we saw a number of civil war reenactment Soldiers that were in camped along the Canal. Those Soldiers were practicing various individual maneuvers from the Union Army manual of arms. There were about 25 dress soldiers and they had their tents set up near the closed Visitors Center. Crossing that canal, Kathy and I walked in the direction of Washington DC and saw several of the canal locks. The locks were in very good condition especially for being 300 years old. There was very little water in the canal, and there was a boat from the 17th century on blocks in the canal. Walking along the canal we learned that the Potomac River is extremely violent along this stretch of canal, with huge boulders in the river and it was obvious no boats could travel there. It is amazing that the river could be so wild so close to the city of Washington. There was some information about the geology of the area and how the water coming from Pennsylvania would flood this area about every 20 years and the vegetation was adapted to struggling with the flooding and the violent River so it's very unique.

There were a number of people visiting this Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and I think it is important to realize how very close to the city this national treasure is. The day was not overly warm but I think we need to prepare for cooler temperatures here in Northern Virginia.

The brochure of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal  says that construction was started in 1828 and continued until 1850. The challenge was that in the 1850s railroads had been invented and that made the canal obsolete. Many, many immigrants traveled the path of this canal to the Midwest as our nation grew and the population expanded into Ohio, Kentucky and Illinois.

This particular area of the canal we visited is where Lock number 17, number 18, and number 19 are located and is called the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center. This tavern was the starting point for visitors in the 1830s to travel to Harpers Ferry, Virginia.

The canal was never finished in the direction of Ohio and as I said only goes to Cumberland Maryland. This place deserves another visit particularly as the leaves change in the fall.
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