North Entrance - Paw Paw Tunnel - C&O Canal – Allegany County, MD, USA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
N 39° 33.560 W 078° 27.712
17S E 718054 N 4381926
Quick Description: North entrance to the 3,118-foot long Paw Paw Canal Tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Allegany County, Maryland.
Location: West Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 7/23/2012 6:59:33 PM
Waymark Code: WMEYN6
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member veritas vita
Views: 15

Long Description:

"The Paw Paw Tunnel is a 3,118-foot (950 m) long canal tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Allegany County, Maryland. Located near Paw Paw, West Virginia, it was built to bypass the Paw Paw Bends, a six-mile stretch of the Potomac River containing five horseshoe bends. The town, the bends, and the tunnel take their name from the pawpaw trees that grow prolifically along nearby ridges.

Construction on the tunnel began in 1836 but was not completed until 1848. Although it was originally planned to be completed in two years, there were many difficulties in the process of construction. The construction company seriously underestimated the difficulty of the job. Violence frequently broke out between various gangs of immigrant laborers of different ethnicities, and wages were often unpaid due to the company's financial problems. The tunnel was finally completed but nearly bankrupted the C&O Canal. The lengthy construction and high cost meant that the C&O halted construction in Cumberland in 1850, rather than continuing on to Pittsburgh. Though surpassed by many tunnels today, it remains one of the world's longest canal tunnels and one of the greatest engineering feats of its day.

Today the Paw Paw Tunnel can be easily explored with a flashlight, as the towpath is still intact. Trekkers can return via the tunnel, or hike back over the Tunnel Hill Trail for a four-mile round trip. This passes interpretive markers of the German and Irish workers who lived along the path during the tunnel's construction."

-- Source


"Most freight boats on the C&O Canal were approximately 95 feet long and 14.5 feet wide while most locks were 100 feet long and 15 feet wide. This left boat captains little margin for error as they steered their boats into the locks, trying to avoid the $5.00 fine for damaging lock masonry."

-- Source

"Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market."

-- Source

Is the Tunnel in Use?: Redundant

Which End is this Entrance?: North

Date Constructed: 1/1/1848

Length of Tunnel: 3118 feet

Construction Material: brick/stone block

Associated Website: [Web Link]

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davee-n-cachincarrie visited North Entrance - Paw Paw Tunnel - C&O Canal – Allegany County, MD, USA 8/25/2012 davee-n-cachincarrie visited it