Creating a National Park
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park
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 was preserved as a National Monument. Through Douglas’s
The hikers at the hike’s end in Georgetown. As the hikers reached the outskirts of Washington D.C. other people joined them. The hike inspired many people to join in the efforts to created Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal marker series.
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 39° 36.036′ N, 77° 49.65′ W. Marker was in Williamsport, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker was on U.S. 11. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Williamsport MD 21795, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Life on the Canal (here, next to this marker); Williamsport (a few steps from this marker); C & O Canal Aqueduct (a few steps from this marker); Gettysburg Campaign (a few steps from this marker); Cushwa Basin/Williamsport (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Williamsport (within shouting distance of this marker); Connecting People and Places (within shouting distance of this marker); Conococheague Creek Aqueduct (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Williamsport.
More about this marker. This marker was located on the grounds of the C&O Canal Towpath in Williamsport, MD. It appears to have been replaced by the Life on the Canal marker, which is currently (2016) the only marker located on the narrow strip between the tow path and the canal/basin.
Categories. • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 7, 2017. This page originally submitted on October 27, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 392 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 27, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.