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Allegany County
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Government coal boat ( more details)

World War I Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


During the spring of 1918 the Washington Evening Star and several citizens' groups in the Potomac Valley advocated government control of the canal as a means of increasing coal shipments to Washington and thereby relieving congestion on the railroads. The proposal was endorsed by an Inland Waterways Commission survey ordered by William Gibbs McAdoo, who had been appointed as director general of the railroads and coastwise and intercoastal shipping when they were temporarily nationalized on January 1, 1918. The commission entered into an agreement with the Canal Towage Company to increase the delivery of coal to the boats and to facilitate the unloading of the coal at Washington and at government stations along the Potomac River. Later the government entered into a contract with the company guaranteeing it against loss in operation. It was determined that the government would supply ten new coal boats to supplement the 80 vessels then employed by the company in the coal trade.
The ten government coal boats were constructed at Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The vessels were towed from that place by way of Albemarle Sound to Norfolk and from thence up Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac. Five of the boats arrived in Washington in late September and the remaining five in early October. There is no information on the dimensions, capacity, or physical description of these boats (Unrau).


Public domain

From the collection of John Frye


Collection Location:

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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