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House Falls Canal

Historic Site

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House Falls Canal, the fifth and westernmost canal built by the Patowmack Company, was carved out of the Potomac just above Harpers Ferry; it was only 150 feet in length and had a drop of only three feet. It was the smallest of the five canals in the system that operated from 1788 through 1828.

The Patowmack structures were not true "canals," but improvements to existing river channels. In most cases, rocks and obstructions in a channel were removed to allow water (and canal boats) to flow more easily.

Historians estimate that the Patowmack system carried about 200,000 tons during its 40 years of operation. In 1828, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal took over the old Patowmack canals and began construction of a much more elaborate canal system. The Patowmack Canal locks were officially closed in 1830. (For more information on the Patowmack canals, see the Patowmack Canal at Little Falls near Washington D.C.; the Patowmac Canal at Great Falls, Va.; the Seneca Falls Canal near Seneca, Md., and Virginius Island at Harpers Ferry, W.Va.)

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Contact Information
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
142 W. Potomac St.
Williamsport MD