The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, abbreviated as the C&O Canal and occasionally called the "Grand Old Ditch," operated from 1831 until 1924 along the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, Maryland. The canal's principal cargo was coal from the Allegheny Mountains.
Construction on the 184.5-mile canal began in 1828 and ended in 1850 with the completion of a 50-mile stretch to Cumberland.
Rising and falling over an elevation change of 605 feet, it required the construction of 74 canal locks, 11 aqueducts to cross major streams, more than 240 culverts to cross smaller streams, and the 3,118 ft Paw Paw Tunnel.
A planned section to the Ohio River at Pittsburgh was never built.
The canal way is now maintained as the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, with a trail that follows the old towpath.