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Speaker topics

C&O Canal Company’s 1890 Bankruptcy Case that Established a 50-Year Trusteeship
Karen Gray
After the 1889 flood, the C&O Canal Company was bankrupt and the B&O Railroad—deeply invested in bonds that mortgaged the canal—is widely believed to have gained control and/or ownership of it. This presentation documents the legal and operational realities and status of the company and its canal 1889–1938, revealing that this understanding is erroneous.

The State of Pennsylvania Canal and Railroad Initiative
Robert J. Kapsch
The state of Pennsylvania, reacted to the Erie Canal and the C&O Canal with a massive canal and railroad system intended to capture the agricultural wealth of the Northwestern Territory and beyond for Pennsylvania and its lead city, Philadelphia. The key element in this initiative was the Main Line, a combined west-east railroad and canal system to link Pittsburgh and the west with Philadelphia and the east.

Trailway through Time: The D&L and National Canal Museum Merge History and Recreation
Daphne Mayer & Martha Capwell Fox
The National Canal Museum has preserved and presented the history of the anthracite canals since 1970. The history of the efficient canal transport of anthracite in eastern Pennsylvania from mine to market is nationally significant. Since its merger with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor in 2017, the Museum’s educational and interpretive canal and industrial heritage programs now reach the residents of the Corridor’s five counties, from the anthracite regions to the tidewater Delaware River.

“Champion” Canals: Coming by it naturally!
Ralph Buglass
This presentation will focus on “champion trees”—exceptionally large trees—along  the C&O Canal as a unique resource for promoting recreation and advancing nature education  by increasing awareness of trees’ importance in the environment. The presentation will be richly illustrated with photos of all the numerous tree specimens so designated.

Albert Gallatin, Father of American Infrastructure
Rod Mackler
Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin used a report to Congress in 1808 to outline his plan for roads and canals. This report served as a blueprint for key “internal improvements” for the next two centuries, from US Route One/I-95 and the Intracoastal Waterway to the National Road and the C&O Canal.

Hall’s Rifle Works and the Shenandoah Canal: A Fraught Relationship in the Age of Waterpower
David T. Gilbert
This presentation will explore the symbiotic but fraught relationship between the Shenandoah Canal and Hall’s Rifle Works along the banks of the Shenandoah River.

The World is Your Museum: Programming Outside the Bounds of Your Historic Site
Derrick Pratt & David Brooks
The Erie Canal Museum has operated outdoor tours focused on the region’s canal heritage for years. The pandemic caused the Museum to rethink how it engaged with audiences, in both space AND content, resulting in a fruitful year of programming that can be replicated in the future.

Canal Place, Past and Present
Deidra Ritchie
This presentation will discuss:
–Creation of Canal Place by state legislation and the motivation behind it
–Partnership between the C&O Canal National Historical Park, Allegany County Tourism, and the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority
–Canal Place as a destination and as a heritage area
–Name change to the Passages of the Western Potomac Heritage Area
–Economic impact of the heritage area
–Accomplishments over the years and current major projects

The Canal Towns Partnership: 10 Towns, Six Counties, Two States
Abbie Ricketts
The Canal Towns Partnership is an economic and community development regional partnership program made up of 10 towns in five counties and two states adjacent to the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Formed in 2011, the partnership works closely with its tourism partners to promote the towns’ tourism assets. The presentation will discuss:
–Economic impact of tourism in the towns
–Promotional products produced by the partnership
–Issues advocated for through letters of support, communicating with officials, and raising funds
–Plans for the coming months and beyond

Building Capacity Through Volunteer Partnerships
Emily Durán Hewitt
People want to help the places they love. That is certainly true at the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Successful partnering allows the park to engage volunteers in mutually beneficial work. Volunteers at C&O Canal do numerous tasks from repairing picnic tables to engaging with visitors to maintaining trails, and beyond. This presentation will highlight some of the successful experiences the park has had working with partners and volunteers.

Recent Engineering and Construction along the C&O Canal
Joseph Reed
The National Park Service has completed or otherwise initiated over $50 million in construction over the past five years. Along the way they have found some unique engineering aspects of historic structures that will be shared during this presentation. These projects span across many different types of structures including, aqueducts, wasteweirs, stone walls, bridges, culverts, rock slopes, and associated canal infrastructure.

Civilian Conservation Corps on the C&O Canal
Joshua Trott
The focus of this project is on two Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps along the C&O Canal, which housed young African American males. These particular CCC camps were used in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and the work crews in these camps focused on maintaining and repairing the section of towpath from Georgetown to Seneca. This project is centered on creating a geodatabase in ArcGIS and georeferencing several maps of the two camps to provide a better understanding of the present landscape. Archival and present-day photographs are also included as well as historic work statements along the maintained sections.

C&O Canal electric launch boat

PIANC and its Role Addressing Climate Change Challenges to Inland Waterways
Burton Suedel, Brian Joyner, Bill Miles
PIANC (The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure) recognizes the importance of the climate change challenge and is actively pursuing the sustainable future of the inland waterborne transport. Nature-based Solutions are receiving growing attention for their potential to reduce people’s vulnerability to a range of climate change impacts and to provide significant co-benefits for both people and the environment.

Four Great Reforms in 500 Years
Ms. Elke Witt
The general manager of the UNESCO World Heritage Region Anhalt-Dessau-Wittenberg will provide some regional history for the site of the 2022 World Canals Conference.
–In 1595 Martin Luther developed his 95 theses in Wittenberg which started the reformation of the Christian church.
–During the 18th Century the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz became an exceptional example of landscape design in the Age of the Enlightenment.
–Between 1919 and 1933 the Bauhaus movement revolutionized architectural and aesthetic thinking.
–In 1989 the peaceful revolution led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The structural change to industry transformed the Central German landscape from surface mining to lakelands.

Keeping the Doors Open for History: Interpretation & Adaptation during COVID-19
Daniel Wiles
Discussion will focus on the conference theme as it applies to the Canal Society of New York’s Old Erie Canal Heritage Park at Port Byron on the NYS Thruway. The Park’s 2020 season was an important educational and recreational historic site during the pandemic for local, national and international audiences.

“Wreck”-reation or Rē-Creation? – A Comparative Tale of Two Michigan Inland Lake Communities
Stacy Leroy Daniels
The two largest inundations from inland lakes due to dam breachings in U.S. history had contrasting impacts: partial drainage of Crystal Lake, a very large natural lake in a very small watershed in NW Lower MI (1873) vs. extensive drainage of four small impoundment lakes in the very large Tittabawassee River (Four Lakes) watershed in Central MI (2020).

The Capital’s Corridor: From Purveyor of Goods to Conservation Corridor
Joel I. Cohen
This presentation will discuss “the relevance of historic canals to today” through a chronological series of canal. The presentation will illustrate how the historical aspects of the C&O Canal quite literally laid the groundwork for corridor connectivity, and in so doing, provided new opportunities for education.

Geospatial Technologies and Historic Canals Today: Enhancing Education, Recreation, and Tourism for End Users with GIS
John Ward
The conservation and preservation of long distance linear corridors such as canals, waterways, and rail trails offer opportunities to provide a combination of education, recreation, and tourism related to the corridors themselves but also to important cultural and natural features along their routes.

Four Pillars of the GAP and Canal Towpath Trails: History, Scenery, Quality and Variety 
Doug Riegner 
This presentation will discuss today’s C&O Canal towpath (and neighboring Great Allegheny Passage). Combinations of colorful characteristics make this national historic park and hall of fame rail trail something everyone can experience. He will spotlight neighboring communities and their businesses which contribute to the towpath being one of America’s Greatest Destinations.

The Unique Tourism-Focused Initiatives of the C&O Canal Trust
Aidan Barnes
C&O Canal Trust staff will detail how the Trust, a friends group of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, provides unique tourist experiences via an historic lockhouse interpretive program, a C&O Canal Explorer mobile app, and tourism partnerships.

The C&O Canal as the Focus for History and Tourism in a small Western Maryland Town
Tracy Salvagno & Ralph Salvagno
From the burial spot for canal workers felled by Cholera to a modern-day revival of Canalside buildings , the C&O Canal has had a significant impact on the social and economic life of the Town of Hancock. The home of canal boat builders and merchants is currently benefitting from the recreational tourism associated with the 186-mile Towpath.

The Delaware and Hudson Canal-An Underappreciated American Treasure
Cliff Robinson, Jr.
The presentation will include a history of the D&H Canal, featuring a 10-minute video. Following this, the speaker will review the numerous efforts currently being accomplished regarding restoration, conservation and education. This includes making numerous partnerships between not-for-profit organizations and both municipal and private entities.

Maximizing Maryland’s Tourism Opportunities of the C&O Canal
Liz Fitzsimmons
Dan Spedden
Abbie Ricketts
For the Maryland Office of Tourism, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is the focal point for the C&O Experience marketing initiative. The C&O Canal Experience is designed to leverage partnerships to maximize the opportunity of the C&O Canal as the 8th most visited national park to generate visitor spending in the surrounding region. This project has been developed with four county tourism offices; is utilizing visitation analysis, visitor profile and economic impact assessment from a comprehensive research study; and is in partnership with tourism partners in the region.

More than Whiskey and Flour: Shopping in an 1850s Canal Town
Blyth McManus
Material culture, tangible remnants of daily life in an often faded past, gives us glimpses into the lives of everyday people. An 1850s shop ledger from a Williamsport merchant provides a rare perspective on the economics, culture, and lifeways of this important canal town.

Canal Classrooms Education Program
Hollie Lynch
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park invites you to explore Canal Classrooms! An award-winning K-12 education program featuring a true partnership between the park, park partners, and local schools. Canal Classrooms is developed in collaboration with local schoolteachers and supports national/state learning standards. More than 50,000 students have explored the C&O Canal, connecting with history, nature, science and outdoor recreation. The presentation will cover some of the challenges and opportunities that come with engaging school groups, as well as managing a program that spans several school districts.

August 30 – September 2, 2021
Hagerstown, Maryland USA