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C&O Canal Dam 5 ( more details)

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


The contract to build Dam 5 was awarded August 25, 1832 to Byrnes and Co. By March work had started on the Dam and it would be finished in December of 1834 at the cost of $47,088.67. That original dam consisted of wooden cribs filled with rubble stone and covered with heavy boards. Dam 5 was rebuilt in the 1860s as a stone masonry dam. Besides being used by the Canal from 1835 until 1936 it was also used as a means to generate electricity by the early 1900’s.

The picture of Dam 5 was taken by Richard Shriver of the Shawnee Canoe Club in Cumberland Maryland. Mr. Shriver along with other members of the Shawnee Canoe Club would frequently take canoe trips down the Potomac River taking pictures of the different sights they would pass.


Richard Shriver, Shawnee Canoe Club

Public domain

Mile 106.6

A total of seven dams were constructed or rebuilt by the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Company between 1828 and 1850. The purpose of the dams was to create a slack area in the river that could feed river water through inlet locks and into the canal bed. When canal water levels would fall making it difficult if not impossible for boat travel from Cumberland to Georgetown, the guard lock paddle gates would be opened in order to raise the water levels. Conversely, the guard lock served as a barrier between the frequent flood waters of the Potomac and the canal in order to protect the massive construction and engineering feat that is the C&O Canal.


Collection Location:
C&O National Historic Park

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Md.); Washington County (Md.), History

Maryland, 1824-1938

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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