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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Shenandoah Canal

 
 
Shenandoah Canal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
1. Shenandoah Canal Marker
Inscription. In 1806, workmen with hand tools widened and deepened this channel for cargo boats to bypass, or "skirt," the rapids in the Shenandoah River. Linked with many other skirting canals" en route to Washington, D.C., this passage became part of the Potowmack Canal system founded by George Washington. He envisioned these bypasses as the way to improve navigation on the Potomac River for trade with the western frontier.

Within thirty years, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (a continuous canal), the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and the Winchester & Potomac Railroad replaced this outdated transportation system. The obsolete canal became part of the waterpower system for the island's growing number of industries. Waste water from mill and foundry tailraces emptied into this former canal bed, which rejoined the Shenandoah downstream.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal marker series.
 
Location. 39° 19.321′ N, 77° 44.061′ W. Marker is in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Shenandoah Street (Business U.S. 340), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Located on Virginius Island in Harpers Ferry National Historic Site. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Shenandoah Canal and the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
2. Shenandoah Canal and the Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jefferson Rock (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Jefferson Rock (within shouting distance of this marker); Virginius Island Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Cotton Mill (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Water Tunnels (about 400 feet away); Shenandoah River (about 400 feet away); Nathan Cook Brackett (about 500 feet away); Jonathan Child House (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Harpers Ferry.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a drawing of a canal boat. Boatmen poling their long, narrow cargo boats, or bateaus, through this canal avoided a dangerous run through the rapids. On the right is a map of the Potomac River valley. Built between 1785 and 1802, the Potowmack Canal system included five bypasses that skirted the waterfalls of the Potomac River between Washington and Harpers Ferry. Adding bypasses along the Shenandoah River extended trade into its valley.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Shenandoah Canal image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
3. Shenandoah Canal
When the canal was modified for use with the mills, brick embankments retained the canal walls.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 863 times since then and 96 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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