Potomac in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Creating a National Park
[Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park]
“It is a refuge, a place of retreat, a long stretch of quiet and peace at the Capital …”William O. Douglas.
Look around you. The park you stand in exists because people cared. In January 1954, Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court of the United States responded to a Washington Post editorial, recommending that the C&O Canal be turned into a parkway. Writing in support of preserving the canal as a national park, Douglas wrote, “It is a sanctuary for everyone who loves woods – a sanctuary that would be utterly destroyed by a fine two lane highway.” He invited the editors and other reporters to join him on a hike of the entire canal to enjoy its beauty and better understand his point. Merlo Pusey, who wrote the editorial, and his editor Robert Estabrook accepted the challenge.
On March 22, 1954, the hike began near Cumberland. Douglas and his companions invited authorities on the natural and cultural history of the Potomac River and the C&O Canal to join them. The hikers learned about the canal and enjoyed the scenery. After the hike, Estabrook wrote an editorial in the Post supporting setting the canal aside as a national park. The walk, and the news stories it generated, motivated hundreds to fight to save the canal. In 1961 the C&O Canal
Douglas, in the white shirt, and his companions hiked over 20 miles a day. Few hikers could maintain Douglas’s pace.
The hikers at the hike’s end in Georgetown. As the hikers reach the outskirts of Washington, D.C. other people joined them. The hike inspired many people to join in the efforts to create Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Erected by Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park - National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal marker series.
Location. 38° 59.945′ N, 77° 14.92′ W. Marker is in Potomac, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is on C&O Canal Towpath south of Great Falls Road Climb. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854, Rockville MD 20852, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Boats Passing By (about 400 feet away, measured A Lift Lock (about 400 feet away); Great Falls Tavern (about 400 feet away); Washington Aqueduct (about 600 feet away); Olmsted Island (approx. ¼ mile away); People and the Potomac (approx. 0.3 miles away in Virginia); River of Change (approx. 0.3 miles away in Virginia); A Globally Rare Environment (approx. 0.3 miles away in Virginia). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Potomac.
Also see . . .
1. C&O Canal: History and Culture. (Submitted on November 26, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Down the Old Potomac - film by Thomas Edison, 1917. (Submitted on November 26, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Categories. • Man-Made Features • Natural Features • Notable Persons • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 26, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 416 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 26, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.