Harper’s Ferry visitors have a unique opportunity to walk alongside two historic canals. One, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which extends from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD for a distance of about 185 miles and the other, the Shenandoah Canal also known as the Shenandoah Navigation, which is often overlooked even though its construction began twenty-two years earlier than that of the C&O.
The canal became obsolete for use as a canal once the C&O was completed, however, the water siphoned from the Shenandoah fed industries, such as the paper mill on Virginius Island, through the early 1900s. If you take the Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park bus from the Park entrance at Cavalier Heights, you can still see lock ruins, especially during this time of year.
The train tracks along this portion of the Shenandoah were once owned by the Winchester & Potomac Railroad, considered a Confederate railroad system during the Civil War. In 1867, the Winchester & Potomac Railroad was renamed the Winchester & Strasbourg Railroad.
A few weeks ago, Harper’s Ferry experienced some excitement as !!Snow Panic!! set in, although short lived. Here is a photo showing the Shenadoah Canal lock still on the job managing the Shenandoah in the midst of the fearsome flurries.