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Article Archive >> Spring Tourism

Williamsport: A Cozy Little Town Full of History

Williamsport
A Cozy Little Town Full of History

Founded by General Otho Holland Williams, a friend of George Washington, Williamsport was once under consideration as a potential site for the nation's new capital. Legend has it that Washington visited Williamsport in 1790 to study the likelihood of making Williamsport the new capital. Because the town's location is off the beaten track of the Potomac River's (then) unsailable watercourse and inability for large ships to navigate through, Washington decided to locate the capital elsewhere. This waterfront town is located at the confluence of the Conococheague Creek and Potomac River.
The area of this beautiful Maryland town has been settled since the late 17th century - 1740 to be exact. It went through several names before it was settled in 1787 as Williamsport.
This historic town was the key canal town in the area years ago because of the accessible water juncture. Since the canal was the only form of transportation during the 1800's, Williamsport brought aid, support, and availability, as well as prosperous living to the community. The town flourished by drawing in visitors...that is until the canal closed because of a flood in 1924.
During the Civil War, the excrescent waters of the Potomac River at Williamsport prevented General Robert E. Lee's army, on a retreat from Gettysburg, from crossing into the safe haven of Virginia for several days.
This small town by the water is the place to visit. It is a wonderful area to take your family, walk the canal, have a picnic, and take in the rich history of our once-considered Nation's Capital.
This beautiful town is abundant in nearby cozy bed and breakfasts, museums such as the Boonsborough Museum of History and the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, campgrounds, and parks. Antietam National Battlefield, Fort Frederick State Park, and the Hager House are just a few of the many historical sites nearby.
Today, this scenic town is the only place on the canal where examples of major canal structures can be viewed.
Williamsport is the only place on the canal where examples of major canal structures can be viewed within a half-mile stretch. One of the only [Wendel] Bollman Iron Truss Bridges still in existence today crosses the canal at Williamsport; the other, and his first, stands in Mount Savage, Maryland. Lock 44, a lockhouse, a re-watered section of the canal, the Cushwa turning basin, and the Conococheague Aqueduct are all located within this area of Williamsport and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The National Park's Visitor Center is located in the old Cushwa Warehouse.

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